CULTURE Zimbabwe calls for repatriation of African artifacts from Western museums


Zimbabwe calls for repatriation of African artifacts from Western museums


10:45, November 25, 2021

A sculpture of a bird carved from soapstone was temporarily moved from a museum at the same site to be placed back in its original position at the Great Zimbabwe monument near Masvingo on February 20, 2020. (File photo: AFP)

HARARE, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday called for the restitution and repatriation of African artifacts that were expropriated from Africa during the colonial era and are currently displayed in Western museums.

Mnangagwa made the remarks at the third edition of the International Conference on African Cultures, which was held here on Nov. 23-25 and attended by dignitaries from across the African continent.

"Our peoples' heritage must be freed from the hostage of Western museums, public spaces and private institutions. Within the purviews of the rights-based discourse, Africa and its people continue to unreservedly pronounce that 'cultural rights are human rights too.' In light of this, Africa must reunite with that which belongs to it," Mnangagwa said.

Raphael Chikukwa, director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe said the looted artifacts are of great cultural and economic value, and therefore should be returned to their rightful owners.

He said the return of the artifacts is essential for Africans to revisit and re-engage with the important aspects of African history the artifacts represent.

Speaking on the same occasion, Zimbabwe's Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry said the return of the artifact is imperative for the realization of the national identity.

"To us as Zimbabweans, as we strive towards Vision 2030, it is imperative that we strengthen our national identity, we need to know and fully appreciate where we come from in order to know where we are going," she said.

Vision 2030 seeks to propel Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by the year 2030.

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