Saartjie Baartman Bass (UCT)

To date, the most interesting and difficult thing that I have ever done! Barring bow making.

Understanding how her form fits her joins to enhance, not only sound, for a human fit as well. This was a mind warp. one unriddle’d on paper, with paper board and all sorts of miniatures after a lot of over thinking.

The conceptual build with many rough rigs tested to allow for different variables were redone many times before the more rigid simpler wood frame was assembled with cleats on a single outline board and attached to the blocks with screws.

After having takien roughly 2 years, with the UCT commissioning person threatening with legal action and hanging my undies out on Facebook:(,
– I replied with a quote from Maurice Ravel ~ reflecting on long periods of silence possibly meaning inaction, until a sudden burst of powered clarity brings it all together, to life.
Finally forced to overcame the bridge crossing of my Mind’s Stubornly-Raged-Geometricx-Arty-Science-Mechanix-EYE to Commit. To Wood.
The saws, chisels and planes got honed for a fitting cut.

Roughly nine months later, well timed with Leon Bosch in town for a few gigs, who graciously agreed to come and give her a symbolic wake up song, together with other JoziCatz, Nico Kruger, Herman Marais and Spiro Paxinos. A small gathering of bassists to share her around.

All slightly tongue in cheek stuff with her history, Saatrjie Baartman – one more time.

After a few sessions of fine tuning and further prep I had to book a bus from Johannesburg, Kensington (luckily I managed to book both seats at the top front of a decked ride. The two of us really enjoyed the dusk entering the Karoo – a most fantastic sight with nowhere to go while getting there:). 

Going to deliver the first of a kind. Saartjie Baartman Bass all of her form and glory encapsulated in her image. Beautiful buttox, sleek and slender shoulders with a SPINE to erect her position. Her loin cloth held by her strings. Knowing what to look for, with a few more cheeky bits to discover.

At the long waited for delivery, when the Head of UCT Bass enquired about the clear varnish with no colour,  that one went right over his head when my answer was, “she never really wore clothes”.

That was more or less that. Delivered, sort of dusted, Now off to get some Dim Sum in a pop-up restaurant with Kyla Rose.

Ha! While waiting for Kyla to arrive, I Happened to gaze up at the campus building, with my back to the Baxter Theatre, and Voici! It dawned on me that  I had just delivered Saartjie to her return institutionalisation. Oh dear, now I know how Einstein must have felt when the first nuke was dropped.

Such a vision, such a sound, such a beauty. Once more back in her cage for shows.

Please, all who see her being played on, or you are playing on her, learning on her … please send us videos and share your experiences of her in the comments, to follow her living story here.

IF by chance! This frictions a spark, then Svencino pledges to give a sum of minutes for every used second of footage from you, to her ongoing upkeep and maintenance – when her maker (me) is in the Cape.

Enjoy her gallery, a long and complicated story, thrice – if we include returning her reluctant captive’s box of bones.

Something went wrong when uploading the files so, enjoy in Pulp Fiction sequential. The last one testifies her return to captivity.



Videos of Saarjie being made and first plays

Saartjie Baartman Basso - In Her Making Stages

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