UK Returns Looted Asante Gold Artifacts to Ghana After 150 Years

Over 150 years after being looted, the UK has returned dozens of artifacts to present-day Ghana, now housed temporarily in the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and the British Museum. These 32 gold and silver items, stolen during 19th-century conflicts from the court of the Asante king, were recently shipped back on a long-term loan. This Friday, they are to be officially handed over to the current Asante king.

According to Ivor Agyeman-Duah, the chief negotiator for the Asante king, the artifacts are safely in Ghana and will soon be displayed at the Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi as part of the celebrations for the silver jubilee of Asante King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. The artifacts, including a gold peace pipe and a state sword, symbolize the historical wealth and power of the Asante kingdom.

The loan arrangement, lasting initially for three years with the possibility of extension, was negotiated directly with the Asante monarchy. This allows the items to be appreciated in their cultural context while adhering to UK laws that prevent permanent repatriation from national collections.

The return highlights ongoing discussions about cultural heritage and the legacy of colonialism, as museums worldwide confront the challenge of handling artifacts acquired during colonial times. This initiative by the UK museums is seen as an important step in addressing past injustices and enhancing international cultural relations.

About Geraldine Boechat 2711 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia