Why Is The West Looting Africa’s Artefacts
An Artifact or Artefact is any object made or modified by a human. "Artifact" is the usual spelling in the US and Canada, "Artefact" in the UK and Australia. It is a known fact that Africa is a home of cultural heritage. The looting of African cultural artifacts by the West which reached its levels of climax in the invasion of Ethiopia (1868), Kumasi, Ghana (1874), and Benin, Nigeria (1879) still continues in our time, albeit with different methods and persons but with devastating effects on the cultural heritage of the African countries.
Surly it is common knowledge -that a nation without a past, history or Art is a nation without a future?”Why are we folding our hands and be watching the destruction of our future; can we quantify this destruction with money; why Africans why? While some countries in Africa are currently attempting to take inventory of its carted away artifacts, looted by the Western nations, more artifacts are being carted away by America, Western Europe and their African collaborators.
Examples of those Artifacts that the West are hunting include stone tools such as projectile points, pottery vessels, metal objects such as guns, and items of personal adornment such as buttons, jewellery. Other examples include bone that show signs of human modification, fire cracked rocks from a hearth or plant material used for food and medicine.
What are we going to do about this folks? I know many of you will state the obvious -lack of funding etc -but could it be that we [or the powers that be] haven’t fully comprehended the true value of these treasures? A recent research shows that, the estimated value of stolen African cultural patrimony in Western museums and private collections is worth several billions of dollars. This rises considerably if the economic benefit of holding stolen African cultural patrimony is factored into the discussion, i.e. the boost in tourism from viewing these artworks for instance, as well as the economic value from their sale, insurance, publication, exhibition and collection”.
I’m Sending a clear message to auction houses, art dealers and collectors to stop profiteering from stolen African artifacts and to recognize the claims of Africans to their cultural heritage. We need this treasures back, our children will not forgive us if we continue to fold our hands and watch their future being destroyed. Return what rightly belongs to Africa to Africans. The theft has to come to an end. We, the children of the most abused continent in the world, demand the return of what is rightfully ours.
Now to our fellow African collaborators, can a man put water in his own boat?, can a man’s son be enlisted in his enemies army? Whatever the reason might be,pause,use your tongue and count your teeth.
To strengthen the hand of legal suits being brought forward to recover these looted items, the International court judgment should not be presided over by Europe or America.
Interestingly, the forum of eminent personalities – cultural leaders, artists and scholars among others – canvassed a vast range of the matter, and perhaps conflicting perspectives on how best to approach the issue of restitution. Views stretching from the openly cynical to the more familiar calls for Britain and Canada to return the looted artifacts competed for attention at one of the fora being organized by African Initiative Forum at the Main Auditorium Hall of ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria ,charged with intellectual contributions.
I want to use this medium to thank French and Italian governments for their restitution; France recently returned antiques it forcefully removed from Egypt during the reign of Emperor Napoleon and Italy also returned of the Obelisks it removed from Ethiopia under the fascist reign of Benito Mussolini and we are calling on United Kingdom and Canada to do the same on the looted Africa’s artifacts.
Some of the artifacts looted by United Kingdom are:
of the King of Juabin
The heir of the King of Kokofu
The heir of the King of Mampon
The gold cup of Nana Karikari The heir of the King of Bekwai
and many more..
What are those factors presumably militating against the preservation of these artifacts by Africa; notably are:
1. Lack of political action: The political will is lacking; African leaders are busy looting the treasure instead of coming up with a proper political frame work to preserve our cultural heritage.
2. Limited relevant public education: Hosea 4 verse 6 of the holy bible says ,people perish for lack of knowledge. Our people are wallowing in ignorance; the earlier we do something, the better;atleast to create awareness on the importance of preserving these artifacts.
3. Poverty: There is this adage that says ``poverty is a terminal disease’’ Poverty has pushed Africans in a journey of ``No Return’’.We are ready sell our birth right for penury.
4. Absence of integrated development planning by the African States: Government and the inability of development partners (both foreign and domestic) to recognize the potential value of cultural resources have contributed significantly to the continued loss of the archaeological record.
While the illicit artifacts trade is a continuing threat to Africa’s cultural resources, it is, in fact, tourism and economic development that pose the major menace to the continent’s archaeological past.
Let the people of Africa unite to seek redress from the imposition and the oppression of the West. The continued keeping of our artifacts is a violation of human rights and all principles for the protection of cultural property in times of war and peace.