German officials have indicated that priceless artefacts that were looted from three African countries during Germany’s colonial era will be permanently returned.
The numerous museums in Berlin are overseen by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which said on Monday, June 27, that talks had begun on the return of artefacts to Namibia, Tanzania, and Cameroon.
The foundation is a German federal government body that oversees 27 museums and cultural organizations in and around Berlin, Germany, including the ones having the stolen artefacts on display.
A shell-encrusted statue of the mother goddess Ngonnso, which has special spiritual significance to the Nso’ people of northwest Cameroon, is one of the artefacts that must be returned, according to the foundation.
The foundation’s president, Hermann Parzinger, welcomed the move to return the artefacts, he insinuated that “the decision makes clear that the issue of the return of items collected in a colonial context does not always come down to injustice.”
“The special significance – in particular spiritual – of an artefact for the community it originated from may also justify return,” he added.
Since it was “donated” by a German colonial officer who had seized it forcibly from the Nso’ in 1903, the statue has been housed in the collection of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin.
The board also gave its approval for the long-term return of 23 artefacts, including jewellery, tools, and clothing, to Namibia. The items, which were also stolen between 1884 and 1919 during the colonial era, were sent to Namibia last month for research and will now stay there.
According to the foundation, its president had also been given permission to sign a document requiring the return of artefacts that Germany had taken from Tanzania during the Maji Maji Rebellion and other wars during its early 20th-century colonial control.
Source: News Agencies