ZAKES MDA: The West must return Africa’s looted heritage
While some of the continent’s artefacts are in the process of being reclaimed, there are sticking points
We are demanding the return of Africa’s heritage held captive in British, European and American museums.
The reclamation of African heritage from archival collections in the West is fraught with problems. The looting of objects — including human remains — from the cultures of the conquered people flourished in the 19th century. There was a booming trade of sacred objects looted from temples and taken away to the West where today they form valuable collections in museums. This coincided with the development of new academic disciplines such as anthropology and archaeology.