Momentum builds for African artefacts to return home
19 January 2021 | Art and Entertainment
French authorities have said it will return 26 artworks looted from Benin during the colonial era.
The pieces are at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. Senegal will also see the return of a sabre and its sheath, attributed to El Hadj Omar Tall, a key religious and military figure in West Africa in the 19th century.
The sabre is part of the collection at the Museum of the Army in Paris, but it is currently on long-term loan in Dakar.
More than 1 000 bronze art pieces are held at museums across Europe, with the most valuable collection at the British Museum in London.
In other news, Tsitsi Dangarembga, a multi-award-winning novelist, playwright and film-maker, has been announced as the recipient of the PEN Freedom of Expression Award, which recognises her ongoing activism in Zimbabwe.
This follows Dangarembga's political activism during Zimbabwe's protests last year against the government's crackdown on dissent. The protests spurred a social media movement under the online banner of #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, which garnered international attention. Dangaremba was arrested by authorities and later released on bail. The PEN Freedom of Expression Award “honours writers who have been persecuted for their work and continue to work despite the consequences”.