From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Henry Cheruiyot
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 2:15 PM
Subject: [AFRICOM-L] RESTITUTION OF STOLEN AFRICAN CULTURAL OBJECTS
27 November 2008
By Kigongo Remigius
RESTITUTION OF STOLEN AFRICAN CULTURAL OBJECTS
This is an intellectual debate that needs a comprehensive research before we pass our judgments. However, I would think that there are two possible approaches; one is a political and diplomatic approaches. Otherwise, we are just expressing our personal views on the subject matter.
I feel that Africans have a right to demand what belonged to them “artifacts” though curiosity of collecting might had been profound elsewhere in the world. Preservation of history is paramount but who should do it is still my question? Others think that it is our own making; for example, chiefs used to exchange gifts, and others were sold!
The institutions for higher learning are always looking for more artifacts that are of scientific, cultural and archeological evidence for reference. Perhaps this might be the developments for cultural export.
This trend of collecting artifacts anywhere in the world is a continuous process that perhaps will never end! I would suggest integrated and comprehensive research on this topic since it is touching on sensitive aspects of intangible and tangible heritage. It is challenging to the heritage professionals and owners of the heritage!. Therefore, there is a need to do a comprehensive study rather than looking at one side of the coin. However, thanks to my colleagues who argued that it is not only Africans who had suffered in this trend but it is a global problem.
I agree with Mataga who pointed it out that the museums are as result of keeping substantial history, our heritage that has exhibited allover the parts of the world.
Indeed many African objects are not exhibited in the African museums but what are the circumstances of exposing the intangible culture? Then what are channels of repossessing them? This is where I would suggest that we need mutual and progressive dialogue to repossess what belonged to Africa.
Anyway, there might be other situations which probably need extensive research on heritage and museums studies.
Therefore, I strongly agree with Ms Koyo Kouoh arguments that we should be impartial when dealing with this debate; this is serious topic that needs a diplomatic approach rather than political approach and emotional approaches. We need to be clear on what we want and how this should be done!
This is also to remind you that museums are for enjoyment, research, education and cultural exchange. What about suggestions for a convention to re- examine the main causes of artifacts trafficking? The repatriation is necessary where appropriate.
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