Côte d’Ivoire is the latest francophone African nation to demand France hand back priceless artifacts taken during colonization.
Rabat – Côte d’Ivoire is planning to ask the government of France to return approximately 100 different pieces of art, according to a statement from Ivorian Communications Minister Sidi Toure. Historians and authorities from the Côte d’Ivoire compiled a list that will be sent to France and examined by experts, according to France 24.
Côte d’Ivoire is one among a growing list of former African colonies demanding property back that Western nations took during the colonial age.
Countries like Benin, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are already petitioning the governments of France and the UK to return hundreds of years of cultural items.
Priceless artifacts like Benin’s “King Ghezo’s throne of Abomey” currently lie in museums across Europe. A majority of the museums are reluctant to hand them back to their home countries.
Several museums proposed a “loan” system, returning the artifacts to Africa for a finite amount of time. In a report written for al Jazeera on the ethics of museums, journalist Rafia Zakaria stated, “Museums fight against having to reveal the provenance of objects.” She continued, “They know that many of the objects in their vast collections have illicit histories behind them.” According to Zakaria, museums know their artifacts have dubious origins, but they do not want to fix the problem.
Saharan African nations made similar demands. Egypt asked for the return of the bust of Queen Nefertiti, which the Germans took in 1913.
During his inauguration speech, President Macron promised he would “return African heritage to Africa.” But as the calls grow, Macron is dragging his feet. When questioned about his response to Côte d’Ivoire’s request, he said he would call “on other European countries to consider their position,” according to French news outlets.