Vol. XXVIII. Issue 3. Summer 2021
African Treasures - Kwame Opoku's Quest for Justice
Kwame Opoku: Berlin decision on Benin restitution
Kwame Opoku: Church od England wishes to return two Benin artefacts to Nigeria. Is that enough?
Kwame Opoku: Is the British Museum outmaneuvering Nigeria?
Kwame Opoku: Talking about Benin Artifacts is not Enough
Kwame Opoku: Benin
Kwame Opoku: From Restitution to Digitalization: Looted Benin treasures to go online
This issue of Africa Update is a tribute to the indefatigable Ghanaian scholar-activist,
Dr. Kwame Opoku, who has spent decades enlightening the public, and the academic community, about the innumerable African Antiquities confiscated by the colonial powers, after their invasions of Africa in the 19th and 20th century. Dr. Opoku has written more than two hundred and seventy articles on the subject, to date.
Dr. Opoku continues to give us specific details on the location of these artifacts, and what should be done to recover them. His presentations at high profile international conferences, and his careful documentation of individual and generic misappropriated items, continue to stir the conscience of diverse peoples across the globe who recognize the injustice done to Africa during the colonial era. In addition to significant losses of population as a result of colonial invasions during the European expansionist rampage of 1884 and after, significant loss of treasure occurred.
This issue of Africa Update includes six of the numerous articles that Dr. Opoku has written, on the issue, including his commentary on the recent decision by Germany to repatriate some Benin bronzes, originally looted by the British and then sold by the latter to German museums. Special thanks go to www.modernghana.com for permitting the publication of these articles.
Ciku Kimeria, in an article entitled “The battle to get Europe to return thousand of Africa’s stolen artifacts is getting complicated,” comments on the plunder of over a thousand pieces of cultural artifacts by the French, during the capture of the city of Oussebougou that brought down the Toucouleur Empire in 1890 (QZ.com/Africa/1758619). In that issue we are also reminded that at least seventy thousand African artifacts are lodged in the Musee du Quai, in France; one hundred and eighty thousand African artifacts, in the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium; seventy-five thousand African artifacts in the Humboldt Forum Germany; and sixty-nine thousand African artifacts in the British Museum. Most of these artifacts were plundered or obtained suspiciously. In the case of Ethiopia, ancient manuscripts are scattered among hundreds of museums. Many were seized by the British at the Battle of Magdala, 1868. Dr. Kwame Opoku’s passionate quest for the repatriation of stolen artifacts has been driven by his informed awareness of the past and present.
Africa Update thanks Dr. Kwame Opoku for his illuminating analyses and intellectual contributions to the discourse on looted African artifacts.
Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Chief Editor, Africa Update