African Voices in Restitution

AFFORD

The African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) is an international organisation established in 1994, with a mission “to expand and enhance the contributions Africans in the diaspora make to African development”. They work tirelessly on matters of restitution in the UK context for Africa and its diaspora.

AFFORD, Return of the Icons: The restitution of African artefacts & human remains project mapping report

Afolasade Adewumi

Dr Afolasade A. Adewumi is a senior lecturer in the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Her areas of research include Heritage Law, the Nigerian Legal System and Private International Law. She has a PhD in Cultural Property Law from the University of Ibadan.


RETURN AND RESTITUTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY IN AFRICAN STATES UNDER THE 1970 UNESCO AND 1995 UNIDROIT CONVENTIONS

Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow

In 1974, Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow was elected as the first-ever African director general of UNESCO. In 1978 he made a now-famous speech, denouncing the lack of movement on heritage restitution, and making a passionate appeal for the return of artefacts and human remains.

A Plea for the return of an irreplaceable cultural heritage to those who created it: an appeal by Mr. Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow, Director-General of UNESCO

Bernard Alexander Mongtgomery Grant (Bernie Grant)

Bernard Alexander Montgomery Grant (17 February 1944 – 8 April 2000) was a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Tottenham, London, from 1987 to his death in 2000. In 1993 Grant co-founded and chaired the African Reparations Movement (ARM UK) to campaign for the movement for reparations for slavery and racism. ARM UK was formed following the 1993 Abuja Proclamation declared at the First Pan-African Conference on Reparations, in Abuja, Nigeria, convened by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the Nigerian government. Grant’s approach to reparations included demands for the return of looted African cultural heritage (such as the Benin Bronzes) and that the British government should financially support those who wanted to return to their country of origin.

The archives of Bernie Grant’s restitution campaign, developed in advance of 1997 as the centenary year of the British sacking and looting of Benin City, are held at London’s Bishopsgate Institute, Benin Bronzes Campaign

Bonaventure Ndikung

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD is a curator, author and biotechnologist, currently serving as Director and chief curator of Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Berlin, Germany. He founded SAVVY Contemporary in 2009, where he served as the artistic director until 2022. He was the artistic director of Sonsbeek20-24, Arnhem, Netherlands, as well as the 12th and 13th editions of the Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography, Mali. He was guest curator for the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal, 2018 and was the Curator-at-large for Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany in 2017. He curated the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019, together with the Miracle Workers Collective. He is professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin

Charles Taku

Chief Charles A. Taku is the Lead Counsel at the International Criminal Court on the ICC-Situation in Darfus, Northern Uganda and Previously ICC-Situation in Central Africa Republic. Since 1991, he serves as a dedicated advocate for reparations and restitution justice for historic crimes against Africa. He has successfully represented victims of human rights before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva and the African Court on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights. Chief Taku is also the former President of the ICC Bar Association and a life-member of the Governing Council of the African Bar Association.

Chief Ne Kuko

A chief, whose village was pillaged and burned by Belgians demanded the return of a wooden statue that belonged to Ne Kuko, one of the ‘nine great chiefs of Boma’ in the west of nowadays DR Congo. The statue was brought to Belgium in 1883 by its ‘collector’, Belgian officer Alexandre Delcommune, where it entered the collection of the Royal Museum of Central Africa. When chief Ne Kuko demanded the return of the statue from Delcommune, the latter insisted that the statue belonged to him as ‘booty’. Delcommune agreed to negotiate a ransom at a later date which never took place.

Ciraj Rassool

Ciraj Rassool is a Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape and directs its African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies. He is an Associated Member of the Global South Studies Center at the University of Cologne and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Luschan Collection (Berlin).

Ciraj Rassool, ‘New Ethics for Museums – Latitude – Rethinking Power Relations – for a Decolonised and Non-Racial World – Goethe-Institut’, 2020

Donald Deya

Don Deya is a highly accomplished legal expert and leader. As CEO of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), he chairs various executive committees, including the Pan African Citizens’ Network (PACIN), the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP), and the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC). With a wealth of experience, he actively participates in regional and international legal matters, including litigation at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). His advocacy extends to numerous African and international organizations, such as the African Union, African Development Bank, and the United Nations.

Dr. Akin Ogundiran

Dr. Akin Ogundiran is Chancellor’s Professor, and Professor of Africana Studies, Anthropology & History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte where he also served as chair of the Africana Studies Department from 2008 to 2018.

Dr. Frezer Getachew Haile

Dr Frezer Getachew Haile is an experienced communications strategist and foreign policy expert with a decade of experience advising public sector and international organisations­­ in Africa, Europe and Asia.

Dr Haile is currently a strategic adviser at Project Associates, a boutique consultancy firm, helping clients navigate complicated, transnational challenges of a political nature, involving policy issues, litigation, investments, elections or major crises.

Prior to this, he served as a senior advisor at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, during which time he was responsible for the Ethiopian Government’s work on restitution in the UK and led its negotiations with a variety of UK cultural institutions, including the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and British Library, amongst others. He regularly speaks publicly on issues of heritage and restitution and holds a doctorate in politics and geography from King’s College London.

Dr. Kwame Opoku

Dr. Kwame Opoku is an unwavering voice in the development and distribution of African knowledge on the subject of restitution in Africa. He was until retirement Legal Adviser at the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV) where he subsequently served as Ombudsman.

He previously served as Deputy Legal Adviser in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Opoku served as Legal Adviser to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) as well as the Commission on the Status of Women and various Preparatory Committees for UN Conferences such as the United Nations Conference for the Promotion of International Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (UNPICPUNE), Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing. Opoku was a member of the experts’ commission that assisted Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr to produce the Sarr-Savoy report on restitution.

Dr. Njoki Ngumi

Dr. Njoki Ngumi is a writer and feminist thinker who has held positions in private and public healthcare sectors in Kenya. She is now a member of the Nest, a Kenyan multidisciplinary collective of artists, builders and makers, and the coordinator of learning and development for Africa’s first creative economy catalyst fund, HEVA. She takes a special interest in the circumstances and holistic outcomes of youth, women and minorities. She also leads and participates actively in policy making and strategy, media analyses and debates, public education and dialogue, groundwork, pilots and practical interventions across sectors and arenas to make socioeconomic equality and advancement for them a reality.

Dr. Kodzo Gavua

Kodzo Gavua is an archaeologist and ethnographer who holds a PhD and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Calgary, Canada. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Archaeology and Philosophy from the University of Ghana. Kodzo serves as an Associate Professor of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, and researches the effects of cross-cultural interactions on Africa’s cultural heritage and economic development. He engages in public archaeology, anthropology of tourism, economic anthropology, art history, material culture studies, and museum studies. Gavua established and coordinates the A.G. Leventis Digital Resource Centre for African Culture at the University of Ghana.

Ekpo Eyo

Ekpo Okpo Eyo is a pre-eminent name to know when looking to understand the intersection of heritage, restitution, independence and society in Africa. was a Nigerian scholar mostly known for his work on the archaeology of Nigeria. He worked at the interface of archaeology, anthropology, and art history, and he was actively involved in and for many years presiding the federal and national agencies of antiquities and museums in Nigeria. He has been described as a ‘giant pillar of Nigeria’s museums’. Ekpo Eyo served on UNESCO’s Committee on the creation of the Convention on the Illicit Transfer of Cultural Property (1970) and the Preservation of World Cultural Property (1974).

Ekpo Eyo, ‘Primitivism and Other Misconceptions of African Art’, April 1982, https://authors.library.caltech.edu/25707/1/MALN_63.pdf

El Hadji Malik Ndiaye

El Hadji Malick Ndiaye holds a doctorate in Art History from Université Rennes II. He is also a graduate of the National Institute of Heritage (Paris) and is a former fellow of the National Institute of Art History (Paris). He is a member of the Orientation Committee of Dak’art 2018 and directed its Commission of Encounters and exchanges. He teaches History of Art and Cultural Heritage, collaborates with several journals and participates in various international scientific activities. As a theoretician and curator, his publications deal with modern/contemporary art and global history, cultural policies and African museum institutions.

Eromo Egbejule

Eromo Egbejule is a Nigerian journalist, writer and filmmaker. He is known mostly for his work on the Boko Haram insurgency and other conflicts in West and Central Africa. He is currently Africa Editor at Al Jazeera English Online.

Faustin Linyekula

This individual is a versatile artist and storyteller with a background in dance, choreography, writing, and theater. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, they’ve performed across the globe and received numerous awards, including the 2007 Principal Award from the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development and the 2019 Tällberg / Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.

In 2001, they returned to their homeland and established Studios Kabako, a unique space that provides comprehensive support to artists, transcending traditional artistic boundaries. Their work extends to community and environmental projects, such as supplying clean water and offering computer literacy workshops in underserved areas. Through their art and initiatives, they foster unity and positive change in communities.

Felwine Sarr

Felwine Sarr, together with Benedicte Savoy, developed the groundbreaking report “The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics” 2018. Felwine Sarr is a humanist, philosopher, economist, and musician and the Anne-Marie Bryan Chair in French and Francophone Studies at Duke University. He is the author of Afrotopia (University of Minnesota Press, 2019, tr. by Drew S. Burk). Sarr taught at the University of Gaston-Berger in Saint Louis, Senegal, where he was previously dean of its Economics and Management department. His research focuses on economic policies, the development economy, econometrics, epistemology, and the history of religious ideas.”

Savoy and Sarr, ‘The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics’. http://restitutionreport2018.com/

Florence Muragula

Florence Mugarula is a senior journalist for the Tanzania Standard Newspaper. He is also a contributor at All Africa.

Flower Manase

Flower Manase is the Curator of History at the National Museum of Tanzania (Museum and House of Culture, Dar es Salaam) since 2009. Since 2017, she is part of the Tanzanian team working on Maji Maji war booty collections at the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin.

FROM THE VISION TO THE PRACTICE OF RESTITUTION

George Abungu

George Abungu is an archaeologist from Kenya and former director of the National Museums of Kenya. As Chairman of the International Standing Committee on the Traffic of Illicit Antiquities, he has been responsible for the return of stolen artefacts to Kenya and the curtailing of the illegal antiquities trade. Since 2002 he has been the owner and director of Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants.

Abungu, G. (2002) ‘The Declaration: a contested issue.’ ICOM. Available at: https://icom.museum/en/ressource/the-declaration-a-contested-issue/

Lamu Museum

The Lamu Museum is the flagship museum of the five museums and resource centres in Lamu Old Town. It was established in the 1960s and is one of the largest and most authentic Swahili ethnographic collections in East Africa. The artefacts represent different parts of Swahili’s cultural heritage and archaeological finds.

Lamu Museum Website https://museums.or.ke/lamu-museum/

Marie-Cecile Zinsou

Marie-Cécile Zinsou created in 2005, in Cotonou, the Zinsou Foundation, dedicated to contemporary art – a foundation which she chairs and of which she is the artistic director. In 2013, she opened the Museum of Contemporary Art of Ouidah.

Molemo Moiloa

Molemo Moiloa is the lead researcher at Andani Africa and co-founder at Open Restitution Africa. She also lectures at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she received her Master’s degree in Social Anthropology cum laude. She was an Africa No Filter (ANF) Fellow in 2021. Her study explored how art and artefact restitution is being discussed across the continent. At Andani Africa she is involved in various projects engaging with museum practice. At Open Restitution Africa, she is the research lead.

Minne Atairu

The Benin Bronze tracker is an online index of deinstalled, repatriated and yet-to-be-repatriated Benin Bronzes. The list dates back to 2014, and will always be in progress. All entry descriptions are excerpts from existing text entries on the related website.

Minne Atairu is an interdisciplinary artist and doctoral student in Art and Art Education at Columbia University. Her academic research emerges at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence, Art/Museum Education and Hip-hop based education. Her ongoing project Igùn investigates a 17-year Artistic Absence [1897-1914] in the Benin Kingdom, following the 1897 Benin invasion. Minne appeared on Open Restitution Africa’s podcast –Access For Who?

Mobutu Sese Seko

In the 1970s, the pressure on African nations grew, with the Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko making the first international request at the UN General Assembly in 1973 – which soon after tabled a resolution on heritage restitution.

Nana Oforiatta Ayim

Nana Oforiatta Ayim is a writer, filmmaker, and art historian and mobilising force in the Presidential Committee on Ghana’s Museums and Cultural Heritage. In her work, she has sought to understand the various relativities of cultural contexts, and to give voice to that understanding in a way that speaks to both the actors and communities of that context, as well as the wider world.

She is director of the ANO Institute of Arts & Knowledge, through which she has pioneered a pan-African Cultural Encyclopedia, reimagining narratives from across and about the continent; and a Mobile Museums project that travels into communities to collect material culture and exhibits them in those communities to, creating discourse about narratives, memory and value. Ghana announced the Presidential Committee on Ghana’s Museums and Cultural Heritage, a Committee appointed to propose new policies to investigate radical new ways of presenting narratives, as well as engaging communities from across social divides in Ghana, so that they might see themselves properly represented in their museums. Their report is available to the public as of 2021.

Ngaire Blankenberg

Ngaire Blankenberg, founder of the Institute for Creative Repair, is a forward-thinking leader in the world of arts, culture, and heritage. As former Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, she championed a vision for a 21st Century Global African Art Museum, emphasizing African philosophies and issues of restitution.

With over 20 years of expertise, she’s advised more than 55 cultural projects in 35 cities across the globe, encompassing museums, urban development, archives, community engagement, and decolonization. Ngaire’s work fosters transformation, contributing to more regenerative art ecosystems. She’s co-editor of impactful publications urging museums to play a more vital role in equitable, inclusive cities and offering guidance for cultural institutions navigating the digital age.

Nosmot Gbadamosi

Nosmot Gbadamosi is a multimedia journalist and the writer of Foreign Policy’s weekly Africa Brief. She has reported on human rights, the environment, and sustainable development from across the African continent.

Africa’s Stolen Art Debate Is Frozen in Time

Onyekachi Wambu

Onyekachi Wambu is a former newspaper editor and television producer for the BBC and PBS. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at AFFORD, a charity focused on enhancing the contributions of the African diaspora to Africa’s development. His leadership at AFFORD has played a pivotal role in advocating for diaspora engagement in development, resulting in UK and international recognition and the initiation of policies and programs by global institutions. Since 1990, he has been a prominent figure in addressing African cultural heritage issues, particularly related to slavery and colonialism, making high-level presentations to the United Nations and African Union. Onyekachi is an alumnus of the University of Essex and Selwyn College, Cambridge, with extensive publications on Africa and its global diaspora.

Ore Disu

Ore Disu is the Director of the Pavilion at the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA), overseeing heritage initiatives, research, and exhibitions. With a decade of experience, she has driven programs related to public policy, social enterprises, and the creative economy. Her work spans partnerships with organizations like the Ford Foundation, Goethe Institute, and more. Ore holds degrees in Architecture and Urban Development Practice from prestigious institutions.

Peju Layiwola

Peju Layiwola is a visual artist and art historian with an active studio practice and a strong commitment to research. She has had several art exhibitions locally and internationally. Her most recent travelling exhibition and edited book, entitled Benin1897.com: Art and the Restitution Question, is an artistic exploration of the Benin/British encounter of 1897. She has published several articles on the visual culture of Nigeria. Presently, she is an associate professor and head of the Department of Creative Arts at the University of Lagos, Nigeria where she teaches art history. She follows in the footsteps of her mother, Princess Elizabeth Olowu, daughter of HRM, Oba Akenzua II of Benin, in a career in art, adding art history to her intellectual portfolio during her graduate studies.

Prince Folarin Shyllon

The late Prince Folarin Shyllon is the most prolific thinker and writer on restitution matters from the continent, dedicating much of his professional life to international work. He was the foundation Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ibadan. His dedication to the promotion of the protection of cultural heritage and its return to countries of origin was embodied in his tireless work in regional and international organizations. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization acknowledged his unflinching contribution to its work for decades and the progressive development of international cultural heritage law.

Folarin Shyllon, ‘IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 1970 UNESCO CONVENTION BY AFRICAN STATES: THE FAILURE TO GRASP THE NETTLE’ (UNESCO, 2012)

Princess Marilyn Douala Bell

Princess Marilyn Douala Manga Bell, the great-granddaughter of King Rudolf Douala Manga Bell, executed by German colonial powers in 1910, is deeply engaged in shaping the emerging citizenship of Cameroon, a country not yet 140 years old. She co-founded doual’art in 1991, a contemporary art center designed as a research-action laboratory to explore art’s role in societal change and the formation of Cameroonian identity. With a focus on German colonial history in Cameroon, she works on collective memory projects, artifact restitution with the Hamburg Museum, and reimagining heritage and museum roles in Cameroon. She holds a DESS in Socio-Economics of Development from the University of Paris-Nanterre and is self-taught in art.national organizations. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization acknowledged his unflinching contribution to its work for decades and the progressive development of international cultural heritage law.

Professor Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe is currently Research Professor at WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Today, Achille Mbembe figures as the most renown philosopher, political theorist, and public intellectual of the African continent and won several outstanding prizes. His most important works are: Les jeunes et l’ordre politique en Afrique noire (1985) ; La naissance du maquis dans le Sud-Cameroun (1920-1960); Histoire des usages de la raison en colonie (1996); De la postcolonie. Essai sur l’imagination politique dans l’Afrique contemporaine (2000); Sortir de la grande nuit : Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisée (2003); Critique de la raison nègre (2013); Politique de l’inimitié (2016). Most of his books have been translated into English and German.

Professor Zacharys Anger Gundu

Professor Zacharys Anger Gundu teaches archaeology at Ahmadu Bello University and is a distinguished Senior Fulbright Scholar. He also sat on the Council of the World Archaeological Congress (WAC) between 2013 and 2016 and was Vice President of the Pan African Association of Prehistory and Related Studies from 2014-2018. He also served as the Secretary of the Archaeological Association of Nigeria (AAN) between 198 and 1992 and was President of the Association between 2010 and 2018. He is an Editor of the Journal of Nigerian Field Archaeology. He is also a Fellow of the Archaeological Association of Nigeria and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (Nigeria). Prof. Gundu is currently the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the Benue State University, Makurdi. Nigeria.

Rudo Sithole

Dr. Rudo Sithole is a highly experienced museologist and director in the heritage sector with a passionate focus on African heritage and its restitution. She founded AFRIMUHERE, an association for African museums dedicated to heritage restitution. Dr. Sithole is a key member of the African Union’s experts working group on restitution and played a pivotal role in crafting the Common African Position on Restitution. She recently led a comprehensive restitution baseline study across 16 African countries for the Open Society Foundations. Dr. Sithole is an internationally recognized advocate and speaker on African restitution, with extensive experience in directing museums and managing continental museum associations. She holds a PhD, a Master’s degree, and BSc degrees in the natural sciences.

Salome Kiwara-Wilson

Salome Kiwara-Wilson obtained her J.D. in 2013 from the DePaul University College of Law. While in law school, Salome interned at the Field Museum of Natural History, where she worked on NAGPRA research, as well as on intellectual property issues pertaining to objects in the museum’s collection. She also interned at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she researched issues in non-profit law and intellectual property law as they affected the Foundation’s grant-making capabilities. Salome’s senior thesis paper, “Restituting Colonial Plunder: The Case for the Benin Bronzes and Ivories,” was published in The DePaul Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law, and was awarded first place in the 2012 LCCHP Student Writing Competition.

Samba Yonga and Mulenga Mpundu Kapwepwe

Samba Yonga is a Zambian journalist and media consultant. She has worked a long time as an editor for Big Issue Zambia and has written for several other publications. Yonga is the founder of Ku-Atenga Media, a media consultancy firm and was named one of Destiny’s “Power of 40” most influential women in Africa in 2017. Yonga began the Narratives of Silenced Voices to research and publish the stories of African women from history. The project was run in conjunction with the Kvinnohistoriskt museum, a women’s history museum in Sweden. Together with Zambian activist Mulenga Kapwepwe, Yonga developed the project into the Zambian Museum of Women’s History, initially as an online-only offering but with a view to having a physical location to allow the display of artefacts collected by the project.

Mulenga Mpundu Kapwepwe is a Zambian author and co-founder of the Zambian Women’s History Museum. She is known for building libraries in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, to help young children educate themselves. Mulenga served as the chairperson of the National Arts Council of Zambia, from 2004 until 2017. She also served as the Patron of a number of associations, including the Women in Visual Arts Association, the Zambian Folk Music and Dance Association, and the Youth For Culture Association. She has been Vice Chairman of the Ukusefya pa Ngwena Cultural Association, Zambia National Visual Arts Council and The Zambia Women Writers Association. Kapwepwe also sits on the Zambia Commission for UNESCO and the Arts Institute of Africa and is the chairperson of the Arterial Network.

About: The Women’s History Museum of Zambia was set up to document and revive narratives of African history with a specific focus on women. It seeks to research, preserve and restore African indigenous knowledge and living histories focused on women.

Stephanie Busari

Stephanie Busari is a journalist and editor at CNN Worldwide. She heads up CNN’s Nigeria bureau where she pioneered CNN’s first digital and multiplatform bureau. In 2017, she was named one of the Most Influential People of African descent in an UN-backed award and in May 2020, she was listed among 25 of the most powerful female journalists in Africa by Women in Journalism Africa.

Sylvester Ogbechie

Professor Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie specializes in the arts and visual culture of Africa and its Diasporas, especially in terms of how art history discourses create value for African cultural patrimony in the age of globalization.

Sylvie Njobati

Sylvie Njobati is a passionate restitution activist focused on addressing the colonial legacy and reclaiming Africa’s heritage worldwide. She is the founder of Sysy House of Fame, an Arts and Culture organization in Cameroon dedicated to empowering Africa for a better future. As a Pan-Africanist, Sylvie supports African communities in their restitution claims for collections looted during colonial times. Her recent achievement includes the successful restitution claim of the Ngonnso, marking the first-ever grassroots-led restitution success. Sylvie envisions an Africa with an informed populace reclaiming what was taken from them, shaping global conversations, and holding a BSc in Sustainable Development and Management from ICT University, with plans for a master’s in Film, Theatre, and Television.

The Olokun Affair

Known as the Olokun Affair, a Nigerian community demanded back a bronze Olokun Head that had been sold to a German ethnologist and collector. The British colonial authorities intervened and summoned Frobenius and compelled him to return the object. He refused, insisting that returning the object was an obstruction to his work and an attack on the scientific community.

Toussaint Kafarhire Murhula

Toussaint Kafarhire Murhula, S.J., is a Jesuit priest and academic leader. He currently directs the Centre Arrupe for Research and Training (CARF) and teaches at Universite Loyola du Congo. His extensive background includes working as an Executive Coach for African leaders at the African Union Kofi Annan Public Health Leadership program and leading the African Studies Association of Africa. In 2022, he was chosen to engage with U.S. institutions on restitution by the Ministry of Culture, Art, and Heritage of the DRC.

As the President of ASAA, he will host the International Congress of African and African Diaspora Studies (ICAADS) and a pan-Africanist conference in Lubumbashi in October 2023, gathering scholars, artists, activists, and policymakers to discuss critical topics like restitution, repatriation, and restoration. His diverse research interests span democracy, African resource governance, transgenerational justice, and leadership coaching. His contributions to academic networks and editorial boards further underscore his dedication to advancing knowledge and discourse.

The Pan-African Cultural Manifesto

In 1969, the Pan-African Cultural Manifesto of Algiers made the first Pan-African statement for return, calling upon international institutions to return the works of art and archives seized by colonial powers.”

Wazi Apoh

Wazi Apoh is Dean of the School of Arts and Associate Professor at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana. He specializes in the Archaeology of Colonization & Missionization in Togoland; the Archaeology of Gonjaland, Climate Change and Salvage Archaeology; the Archaeology of Slavery in Southeastern Ghana as well as on Issues of Restitution and Repatriation of Colonially Looted African Objects/remains

Vicensia Shule

Vicensia Shule is a seasoned creative producer with over 20 years of global experience in film, theatre, and online content. Her current role as a Senior Culture Officer at the African Union Commission places her at the forefront of vital heritage restitution efforts. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, bringing her wealth of knowledge to academic circles. Vicensia’s diverse career spans over 30 academic publications and roles as a consultant, campaign strategist, and analyst in civil service, civil societies, public and private sectors. Her two decades of work include capacity enhancement training in various fields at local, national, regional, and international levels. She has served on boards of significant institutions worldwide.

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes is a Senior Lecturer, multidisciplinary researcher and writer. His research focuses on the critical study of development, education and law, and the importance of lived experience and epistemic diversity for decolonial and sustainable futures. His teaching practice is informed by the importance of indigenous knowledge, diverse epistemologies, cultures and critical theories. He also researches on African experiences and Ethiopian traditions and writes creatively on belonging and diasporic lives.


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