Officials have announced that priceless artifacts seized and looted from African nations during Germany’s colonial past would be permanently returned.
The Berlin-based Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees the German capital’s various museums, announced on Monday that it has begun discussions with Namibia, Tanzania, and Cameroon to return artifacts.
A shell-studded figure of the mother goddess Ngonnso’, which carries tremendous spiritual value for the Nso’ people of northwest Cameroon, is among the artifacts to be returned, according to the organization.
The statue has been in Berlin’s Ethnological Museum’s collection since 1903, when it was “donated” by a German colonial commander who had seized it by force from the Nso’.
The board also authorized the permanent repatriation of 23 artifacts to Namibia, including jewelry, utensils and fashion items. The artefacts, which were also seized during the colonial period from 1884 to 1919, were transferred to Namibia for study purposes last month and will now remain there.
The foundation’s president was also authorized to sign an agreement on the return of artefacts plundered from Tanzania during the Maji Maji Rebellion and other wars during Germany’s early 20th-century colonial control, according to the foundation.
Hermann Parzinger, head of the organization, applauded the decision to return the artifacts.