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Zana's skin tone may have been similar to the Himba woman's in the above photograph.
WHO WAS ZANA?
A bizarre tale about a wild woman captured by hunters near the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains surfaced in the late 1800s. From there the tale became more embellished over the years and landed on the Internet as the result of cryptozoologists’ theories the wild woman was a female Bigfoot.
Zana was the supposed wild woman and Zana wasn't her real name. It was the nickname assigned to the Sub-Saharan African woman by her enslaver. And she was not a Bigfoot nor a relic hominid.
More than likely, Zana was abducted from the Ochamchira region of Abkhazia, and not the foothills of the Caucasus mountains in the 1850s. Unfortunately, her predicament would last a lifetime.
ZANA’S PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
The renderings of Zana’s physical appearance posted all over the Internet are interpretive, speculative, and exaggerated sketches based on the imaginings of artists. A forensic facial reconstruction based on her skull would end the guesswork. However, her burial site has yet to be found and her remains exhumed.
However, if you employ a mindset free of bias and step over the titillating and exaggerated stories about Zana, you’ll glimpse a tall, buxom, curvaceous, and reddish dark-brown Sub-Saharan female. Her eyes are almond-shaped. She has a broad nose, flared nostrils, large white teeth, ample lips and hips, high cheekbones, reddish tinged black braids, and possibly a speech impairment.
ZANA’S LIFE IN CAPTIVITY
After Zana’s kidnapping in the 1850s, she had a succession of owners. The last one was Edgi Genaba a nobleman. She lived on Genaba’s Tkhina estate in Abkhazia outside in a stone enclosure for two years.
Tkhina was a rural countryside where the villagers viewed Zana’s humanness as one of an otherness and alien to their Armenian-Slavic homogeneity.
Moreover, the villagers claimed Zana’s reddish-brown braids ran down her back like an animal’s mane.
Consequently, the villagers poked at Zana with sticks and hit her with rocks. She in turn responded with the only weapon at her disposal --- her body. Therefore, she kicked and bit those who meant to harm her in addition to growling at them. Said actions used for her self-defense fueled the rumors and innuendos about Zana’s wild behavior.
ZANA WAS GANG-RAPED
At Edgi Genaba’s estate Zana was forced to drink alcohol and beaten if she refused. It is intimated she developed a taste for wine and gladly imbibed. Probably the wine provided a temporary escape from her wretched circumstances. While under the fog of intoxication and slumber, Zana was sexually violated by the male villagers.
Whether Zana’s family and the Afro-Abkhazian community attempted to locate her is unknown. Perhaps they were aware of her fate, but powerless to intervene.
It is reported Zana birthed six children in Abkhazia and two of them died. The four surviving children were removed from her care and raised by the villagers.
It is alleged the two deceased infants expired from hypothermia because Zana washed them in the river after their births. Which begs two questions: 1) Why wasn’t assistance provided to help Zana deliver the infants? and 2) Was the cold river water the only option available to Zana to clean the infants?
It certainly appears the villagers’ intolerance played a role in the deaths of the two infants. Perhaps their guilt and shame forced them to assist with the births of Zana’s other infants. After all the infants were in part the flesh and blood of some of the male villagers.
What’s more, it’s highly probable Zana birthed more than six children. Zana may have given birth to a family prior to her kidnapping. At the time of her kidnapping, she was of child bearing age and sold several times. Undoubtedly, she was sexually violated and probably impregnated by her previous owners or by their friends. That begs the question: What happened to Zana’s other children born prior to her life in Abkhazia?
WHERE DID ZANA COME FROM?
The Afro-Abkhazian Community: 1750 -1930s
An online article, “The Tale of Afro-Abkhazian,” by Mikheil Labadze, a historian, indicated the Abkhazian Count Sharvashidze purchased African slaves from Arab traders during the second half of the 17th century. Over time the former slaves settled within the Ochamchira region of Abkhazia.
By the 19th century the descendants of the former slaves spoke the Abkhazian language fluently and they emulated the Abkhazians’ attire.
Labadze alleges the communists either killed or forced the descendants of the former slaves out of the Caucasus area. As well as Adzyubzha and other Afro-Abkhazian enclaves within the Ochamchira region during the 1930s.
If what Labadze alleges is true then a genocide of Afro-Abkhazians occurred.
Furthermore, Labadze provides a chilling reference to Zana in the article. “…Nicknamed “Zana,” this woman who died of old age in 1890 most likely was a descendant of “Afro-Abkhazians.”
ZANA WAS 100% SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN
In the early 1990s, Dr. Grover Krantz, an anthropologist and cryptozoologist, examined the skull of Zana’s son, Khwit. The results from his examination revealed the skull belonged to a human being. Hence, the claims about Zana’s primitive biological origins were debunked.
Sometime in 2013, Bryan Skyes, a cryptozoologist and a former professor of Human Genetics at Oxford University, conducted a DNA test on the saliva from Zana’s descendants residing in Abkhazia. The results from the tests confirmed she was 100% Sub-Saharan African.
TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH RISES
Sadly, Zana remained friendless, isolated, and belittled during her life in Abkhazia. Still to this day the actual circumstances surrounding Zana’s abduction are unclear.
Although Zana’s story is well over 160 years old, it mirrors that of many people trapped inside the modern world of sex trafficking and human slavery. Oftentimes either old age or death are the only means of escape for the victims.
In closing, Zana passed away circa 1890s and she left behind descendants. Her descendants walk unbowed and their eyes are fearless. Moreover, if you gaze deeply inside their eyes, you’ll see Zana.
1. Bigfootology.com, The Zana Affair, by Ray Crowe, October 31, 2010.
2. jasoncolavito.com, “Is a remnant Group of Pre-Modern Humans Living in Abkhazia? One Geneticist Thinks So,” by Jason Colavito, 7/19/2015.
3. Georgian Journal, The Tale of Afro-Abkhazians, by Mikheil Labadze, 06 Mar, 2015.
I'm I. Cowthern -- I enjoy watching old black and white movies and listening to jazz, pop, rock, R&B, and classical music.