The German Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Daniel Krull has expressed the utmost commitment of the Federal Republic of Germany to support African countries to meet with countries who keep African artefacts and relics in their museums to discuss ways through which such valuable items can be returned to their home countries and contribute to preserving the cultural heritage of the African continent.
The call comes on the back of the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa(MIASA) at the University of Ghana holding a day’s conference to deliberate on ways of preserving and formalizing Africa’s rich cultural history.
The conference brought together policy makers, academics, media , researchers from the various countries located on the continent to gauge how far the various governments have been able to push for seized items taken away by Colonial masters pre – independence to be returned to the original owners .
The conference was hosted on the campus of the University of Ghana where the conference host ,MIASA is located , the event came off on the 22nd of June,2023.
Speaking at the event, the Guest of Honour , Ambassador Krull indicated that the German government is ready to facilitate engagements between European nations and African countries who are interested in getting back artefacts and cherished monuments taken away centuries ago by imperial powers at the height of colonialism which created strife and tensions in those countries.
He indicated that to normalize relations and foster the new cordiality between Europe and Africa , it will be a good signal for European governments to walk the talk by triggering discussions that end up in getting the relics back to host communities.
” In today’s globally dynamic and changing world, Europe and Africa must see themselves as partners in development rather than competing against one another , it is only notable that the seizure of such items which solidify the cultural dynamism of African countries must be returned in earnest to relax tensions and ensure enduring trust between both continents .
Germany in the past has shown that it has facilitated the release of such items to governments like Cameroon and Nigeria and the like from German museums and by virtue of such gesture, we can engage our European brothers on behalf of Africa to get the authorities to the table where the lingering issues can be trashed out .”
Also, H.E Krull also commended MIASA , which is a German funded institution and focused on world class research on Africa related issues for triggering the discussions which would reorient the perspectives of all governments on the need to see that Africa’s rich history must guide developments in to the sustainable development of the continent in the coming years.
” I want to commend the host institution for this wonderful conference , MIASA as a German funded institution for daring to raise this nervy issue which has both political and diplomatic underpinnings to the fore , it goes to indicate how involved the institute and leadership are invested into helping Africa finetune its policies and programmes to help speed up its continued trajectory to the top “.
The conference brought together some big names both locally and internationally ;
- Dr Susan Baller and Professor Grace Diabah ( Co- Directors , MIASA)
- Professor Dan Ofori ( Provost, College of Humanities , University of Ghana)
- H.E Daniel Krull ( German Ambassador to Ghana)
- Professors Kodzo Gavua and Hahns Peter Hahn ( Co- Conveners University of Ghana and Goethe University)
- H.E Francoise Mairesse ( UNESCO Chair, Paris)
- Barbara Plankensteiner (Museum am Rothenbaum ,Hamburg)
- Professor Alain Godonou (Benin)
- Dr Samba Wembou ( Togo)
- Julia von Sigsfield ( Ethnographic Museum,Leipzig)
- Richard Holzl ( Museum Funf Kontinente ,Munich)
- Mahmoud Malik Saako ( Ghana National Museum)