A commentary of Kenya’s request for the return of artefacts  by Kwame Opoku.
Kenya demands once again the restitution of Artefacts
Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Wednesday, 06 August 2008
As we have often emphasized in our various articles, no one intends to empty the European museums of all the African objects but there must be a selection of those the European and American museums can keep and those the African owners want back home. As the Director-General of Kenya’s National Museums has stated in the report below, we want people in Europe and America to see our artefacts but the most important ones must return home to where they belong. Is this not fair enough? In these days when museum directors and others are talking about the “heritage of mankind”, should the producers of these artefacts also not have their own share of the “heritage of mankind”? Or does that heritage belong only to those who have acquired the artefacts under dubious circumstances?
TAKEN AWAY DURING THE COLONIAL PERIOD
Kenya has once again underlined its determination to recover the thousands of artefacts that were taken away from the country during the colonial era. Under pressure now are the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution which have a vast amount of Kenyan and other African objects. US American, German, French, British, Portuguese and Dutch museums as well as other institutions are holding thousands of African artefacts for which they have no adequate space and really no religious or cultural use except to display some in their exhibition halls as tourist attractions.