Germans to return “looted artifacts”… back to people of Akpini in Kpando

The German government has agreed to repatriate artefacts seized by the Germans during the colonial days from the people of Akpini Traditional Area, in Kpando from the Volta Region.

The artefacts which are being kept in a museum in Berlin, and taken from the people somewhere in 1880, include drums, amulet, headdress, ceramic vessel and two ivory horns built with human jaws and bones.

To this end, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other state agencies, as well as the traditional leaders of Akpini, are planning the repatriation process as some traditional rites is needed to be performed in Germany before the repatriation begins.

The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Daniel Krull disclosed this yesterday in Accra, at a conference organised by the Mariam Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA).

Themed ‘Restitution, Museum, and Cultural Policies in West Africa,’ it brought together archeologist, academia, students, media personnel and other stakeholders, to brainstorm over how to restitute artefacts seized from the African continent to its rightful owners.

Mr Krull said he was hopeful the conference would speedily provide the needed guidelines to repatriate the artefacts from the German museum to Ghana.

The Ambassador, although could not provide detail information as to when the artefacts would be returned to the people of Akpini said, the repatriation of the artefacts would depend on the government of Ghana, and the traditional leaders of Akpini area.

A Professor of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Kodzo Gavua said, the artifacts had some spiritual connections with the people of Akpini.

He said the traditional leaders of Akpini had requested for their priest to be sent to Germany to perform traditional rites, and suggest how the repatriation should be done.

Professor Gavua however, said the traditional leaders of Akpini had earlier suggested that the repatriation of the artefacts had to pass through the same process it was sent to Germany.

He was confident that the artefacts if returned would boost Ghana’s tourism industry, as it would attract curious tourists and contribute to the local economy of Kpando.

He suggested that the artefacts when repatriate should be kept temporarily at the palace of the paramount chief of Kpando, pending the construction of a museum to promote heritage education in the area.

The Germans took the artefacts from the Akpini people in the beginning of the 20th century, and arrested the King of Akpini Traditional area, Togbe Dagadu III and exiled him.

The ivory horns for example, were unique and served as an important heritage because they were used to rally the people of the community together.


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