Check out some of Africa’s most prized artifacts that were stolen by colonisers but now returned

Theodora Aidoo September 30, 2019
Pic Credit: GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images

The colonization of Africa did not only rid the continent of its people and dignity but also of its traditional and cultural symbols which have been kept outside the continent as trophies.

Many African treasures have ended up in Britain and some were moved to museums in America and other European countries. Calls have been made by African empires whose artefacts were stolen to be returned.

Experts estimate that up to 90 percent of African art is outside the continent, including statues, thrones and manuscripts. Thousands of works are held by just one museum, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, opened in 2006 to showcase non-European art — much of it from former French colonies.

Many African countries have been fighting tooth and nail to get back the artefacts stolen or sold illegally to museums and private art collections overseas. These efforts have yielded quite positive results, with many countries- especially former colonies- stating that they will return the artefacts to their rightful homes.

The stolen artifacts have never been returned until in 2014 when two of the Benin bronzes were returned by a British citizen, Dr Mark Walker, who stoked the interest of the rulers and other African traditional kingdoms to call for the return of their heritage displayed in British museums.

Face2Face Africa highlights below some of the stolen artifacts that have since been returned:

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