With nothing but concrete bars and walls depriving him of his freedom, he had lived with his known family for longer years. A family not a man would thought and dream to have. But left with nothing but to share a life with them, a shelter with them and even food. Ota Benga had an unfortunate life not any man would wish to have.
Ota Benga was kidnapped from Congo and put on display in the Bronx Zoo with an orangutan. This is to demonstrate the ‘missing link’ of evolution between man and monkeys. Branded as the ‘Bushman,’ people laughed at him, teased him and even mocked him.
In 1906, the Bronx Zoo in New York was jam-packed by nearly a quarter of people to take a sight of the young African that was so-called as the ‘pygmy.’ Exhibited in the iron monkey house cage, the boy often sat on a stool in stupefied silence and sometimes shedding light on the bars.
The exhibit then captured the world’s headlines even attracted protesters inflicting that there was something about the display that was unpleasant. While so, it was a callous disregard of the boy’s humanity to be exhibited together with a monkey at the zoo.
The issue has then sparked criticisms over racial discrimination. It has been 100 years since Ota Benga fired a bullet into his own chest ending his very unfortunate life. The human being branded as a ‘bushman’ was then set free after the protests in support of him but latest shot himself in the heart for the abominations he could no longer take.
Prior to this, Benga was brought to the United States by an avowed supremacist from South Carolina and former African missionary. But two years later, he was commissioned by organizers of St. Louis World’s Fair as an instrument to bring back the lights to ‘pygmies’ to whom scientists before refer to as examples of the lowest form of human development.
Benga among the eight other young males were exhibited on the fairgrounds where they were poked, prodded, and otherwise harassed by curious spectators. Two years later, Benga became a global sensation as Verner temporarily turn him over to the zoo.
More than what we know though, behind the mocking mob, he distracted himself by shooting his bow and arrow or catching up with his playmate—the orangutan. He would also plead from the keepers to release him from the public view.
There was even a time that he took the opportunity to escape as he was allowed to amble through the woods under the guard of the keepers. However, he wasn’t successful as he was pursued by violent seekers and returned to cage.
Benga then resigned to his dark fate. What do you think of this? Don’t miss our updates. For some more of our latest stories, hit the LIKE button to subscribe. Have a nice day ahead.