On Monday, Namibia received 23 historic items of jewelry, tools, and other objects looted under colonial rule and returned to Germany on an indefinite loan.
The relics’ repatriation is part of a mission to promote rapprochement between the two countries.
“All the objects were collected from various Namibian communities during the German colonial era,” said Hilma Kautondokwa, head of the Museum Association of Namibia.
According to her, the returned goods were generally taken between the 1860s and the early 1890s. Hundreds of other artifacts can still be found throughout Germany.
The artefacts were donated to Namibia’s National Museum by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s Ethnological Museum in Germany.
They were immediately displayed for public viewing and will be available for research by local scholars.
In May of last year, Germany admitted to genocide in colonial-era Namibia and promised a billion euros in financial aid to victims’ relatives.
Activists have dismissed the offer as insufficient in light of the crimes that have tainted Namibian-German relations for decades.
The 23 artifacts were returned following three years of negotiations between Berlin’s Ethnological Museum and Namibia’s National Museum.
Namibian activists have also questioned why Germany chose to loan the looted items rather than simply returning them.
Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, promised that “these objects will stay in Namibia.”
The items’ return is the latest step in a growing trend in Africa for Western countries to repatriate colonial relics from their museums.
Namibia received a Bible and a whip from Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, a revered national hero who was vital in the early fight against German colonial dominance.
Germany repatriated skulls, bones, and human remains that had been brought to Berlin for “scientific” experiments over the time the previous year.