The Secretary-General Nathaniel D. Bricknell of the African Democratic Change would like to congratulate the French President Emmanuel Macron for his stance on the debate around returning African artworks taken from Africa during the colonist period back to Africa. With 90% of Africa’s historical pieces including statues, thrones and manuscripts outside of Africa, the continent has been denied access to its large aspects of our historical heritage. We note with concern the arguments that Africa is not ready to have it work returned, due to the lack of knowledge around preservation or poor faculties to house the pieces.


For hundreds of years, revenue has been generated from this artwork that could have gone to the establishment of specialised museums and expertise to the preservation of the artworks and research. Much of the art is housed Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium, British Museum, Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro, Brooklyn Museum, Barnes Foundation, Museum of Primitive Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Museum of African Art.


Some 70,000 of the estimated 90,000 works of sub-Saharan art in France’s public collections are held by just one museum, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, which opened in 2006 to showcase non-European art, much of it from former French colonies. It is a step in the right direction, however for the art to be returned France must change its laws. We as the African Democratic Change urge France to start this process as soon as possible and lead the way forward for other Europeans countries to do the same.


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