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More African nations calling for return of stolen artifacts

By OTIATO OPALI in Nairobi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-02-20 09:41

One of the royal artifacts looted 150 years ago by British forces from Ghana's ancient Asante Kingdom, which was later transferred to Fowler Museum. FOWLER MUSEUM/REUTERS

Charles Kojo, who is from Ghana, said that the theft of Africa's cultural treasures has had far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the material realm. From ceremonial artifacts and archives to intangible cultural expressions, Africa's rich and diverse heritage has been scattered across foreign lands, out of reach for millions on the continent, Kojo said.

The impact of this loss is profound, as it robs present and future generations of the opportunity to connect with their history, culture and identity, he said.

"This is not just about returning pieces of art, but about restoring the very essence of these cultures. In this pursuit of restitution, we acknowledge the importance of redressing historical wrongs and dismantling the structural inequalities that persist today," Kojo said.

He added that a crucial aspect of calls on the continent for restitution should involve investing in the development of skills and infrastructure in African nations.

Such investment would ensure that repatriated artifacts are appropriately cared for, displayed and preserved, Kojo said. This would help Africans cultivate a sense of ownership and responsibility and empower their nations with the means to safeguard their own heritage.

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