Germany hands over looted artefacts to Namibia ‘on loan’

Namibia on Monday took delivery of 23 ancient pieces of jewellery, tools and other objects pillaged during colonial rule, and returned as an indefinite loan from Germany.

Namibia stolen artefacts Germany
Researchers Julia Binter und restorator Johanna Ndahekelekwa Nghishiko clean one of the 23 Namibian artefacts in the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

The return of the artefacts is part of a project to encourage rapprochement between the two nations.

“All the artefacts were collected during the Germany colonial era from different Namibian communities,” said the Museum Association of Namibia chairwoman, Hilma Kautondokwa.

The returned items were taken mostly between the 1860s and the early 1890s, she said. Hundreds of other objects remain in Germany.

The items were handed over to the National Museum of Namibia by the Germany’s Ethnological Museum of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

They were immediately put up for public exhibition and will be available to local academics for research.

In May last year, Germany acknowledged it had committed genocide in colonial-era Namibia and promised a billion euros in financial support to descendants of the victims.

Activists have rejected the offer as insufficient for the atrocities that have poisoned relations between Namibia and Germany for decades.

READ ALSO: What you should know about Germany’s colonial-era massacre of Namibia’s indigenous tribes

The return of the 23 artefacts came after three years of talks between Berlin’s Ethnological Museum and the National Museum of Namibia.

Activists in Namibia have also questioned why Germany opted to loan the looted artefacts as opposed to simply handing them back.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation president, Hermann Parzinger gave a “guarantee… that these objects will stay in Namibia”.

The return of the artefacts is the latest move in response to mounting calls in Africa for Western countries to hand back colonial spoils from their museums.

In 2019 Namibia received a Bible and a whip that belonged to celebrated national hero, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, who was instrumental in the early fight against German colonial domination.

The previous year, Germany repatriated skulls, bones and human remains that had been shipped to Berlin during the period for “scientific” experiments.

READ ALSO: Namdeutsch: How has the German colonial period left its mark on Namibian culture?

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Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final in London

German chancellor Olaf Scholz says he will attend the final of Euro 2022 in London after the German women's team saw off France earlier this week to set up a showdown with England.

Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final in London

Scholz on Thursday tweeted to say he was “excited to support the German team in the fairytale final against the hosts at Wembley Stadium” on Sunday.

The German team had done a “fantastic job”, Scholz said, after they beat France 2-1 in Milton Keynes thanks to two goals from Alexandra Popp to book their place in the final.

Praise also came from men’s German football favourite Thomas Müller, who called it a “dream final” on Twitter.

“Congratulations on the great 2-1 win against France,” the FC Bayern player wrote, adding: “Now go get the cup!”

Germany will face England in front of an expected record crowd for a women’s Euro match of 87,000 at Wembley.

The visitors, eight-time European champions, will be hoping for a repeat of the last time they faced England in the final of the Euro in 2009.

The Germans defeated England by 6-2 that year.

The game on Sunday will be shown at several ‘public viewings’ across Germany, including in beer gardens such as BRLO in Berlin.