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Germany Returns 8 Stolen Bangwa Artifacts to Cameroon

Germany Returns 8 Stolen Bangwa Artifacts to Cameroon

Paru le mercredi, 03 avril 2024 11:05

The Bangwa people in Cameroon’s South-West region received eight of their cultural artifacts, including a mask, on March 30. These items were illegally exported by Germany during the colonial period and were originally from the village of Lebang in the Lebialem department.

Fon Fontem Asabaton, a local authority, expressed his pride at the return of these artifacts, stating that they represent the existence of the Bangwa people. He voiced his hope for the return of more artifacts, including the statue of Queen Bangwa, considered the centerpiece of the stolen works.

The ceremony marking the return of these artifacts took place at the Muna Foundation in Yaoundé. Akere Muna, former President of the Bar, expressed optimism about the return of these artifacts, which he described as “stolen” from his people over a century ago. He noted that while over 40,000 pieces of Cameroonian heritage are scattered in various museums and private collections outside Cameroon, the return of these eight pieces is a positive step towards the recovery of their cultural identity.

A recent study by Bénédicte Savoy, a professor at the Technical University of Berlin, and Albert Gouaffo, a professor at the University of Dschang in Cameroon, revealed that German museums hold approximately 40,000 Cameroonian artifacts acquired during colonization. These objects include textiles, musical instruments, ritual masks, royal treasures, manuscripts, weapons, and tools.

Cameroonian authorities have expressed their desire to recover these cultural objects. In January, a Cameroonian delegation led by Ngeh Rekia Mbeume, Inspector General of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, visited Germany to identify the cultural objects held in German museums for potential return to Cameroon.

Patricia Ngo Ngouem

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