Open Society’s Mai Lynn Miller Nguyen recently spoke with Onyekachi Wambu, our executive director, about why the restitution of cultural heritage is so important.
What is restitution, and what are the goals of the movement behind it?
Demands for restitution are part of a series of connected movements, led by Africans and diasporic communities, in response to the economic, social, cultural, political, and spiritual legacies of slavery and colonialism and towards constructing a more just future. By calling for restitution, we are asking for the return of objects that were taken from the African continent through conquest, plunder, theft, and colonialism. We also believe that objects that were taken through legitimate-but-unfair trade deals need to be reassessed.[Read more…] about Racial Justice & Restitution
Our latest campaign from the AFFORD Institute #returnoftheicons features in Gary Younge’s illuminating special feature The Empty Cases on BBC Radio 4 this week. Ranging from the Black Lives Matter to the detoxification of British Museums, he also talks about our report and seminar we conducted last month with Professor Dan Hicks from the Pitt Rivers and Tristram Hunt from the V&A amongst others. You can listen back here.
You can also read our full report here
AFFORD gives evidence in report calling for fair visa policy, lower remittance costs and more trade
The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee has criticised the lack of a coherent UK strategy on Africa saying the current approach is just a collection of broad ideas with little clarity on how to put them into action.
In a new report published today – The UK and Sub-Saharan Africa: prosperity, peace and development co-operation – the Committee calls on the UK Government to develop a new approach to African countries and regional institutions such as the African Union, based on ‘genuine partnership’.
Onyekachi Wambu, AFFORD’s Executive Director, and Professor Gibril Faal OBE, former Chair and current member of AFFORD’s Investment and Bond Advisory Committee, were among scores of individuals and organisations – politicians, NGOs, academic institutions, thinktanks – who gave evidence to the committee as it compiled the wide-ranging report.[Read more…] about House of Lords committee criticises UK’s Africa strategy
AFFORD would like to thank our AD3 partners UNDP and Chatham House for enabling us to hold such a well-attended and interesting event despite the current circumstances. We would also like to thank all of you for attending. For those of you who missed it, you can watch it here.
There is also an event brief capturing the key points that came out of the event which you can find here. We are very grateful for the robust and thoughtful questions and comments that were shared.
AFFORD in conjunction with our partners Chatham House and UNDP will host African Diaspora and Development Day (AD3) 2020 on Friday, 3 July, at 14:00 BST.
The theme this year is Scaling Fences: Exploring New Pathways for African Migration and the event will explore UNDP’s Scaling Fences – Voices of Irregular Migrants to Europe report.
Register for the event here.[Read more…] about African Diaspora and Development Day (AD3) 2020
AFFORD is today launching two landmark publications in the Return of the Icons project, our programme to achieve restitution of stolen African artefacts and human remains from UK museums and other cultural institutions.
The full project mapping report sets out the findings of research undertaken by AFFORD from January to May 2020 to map communities of practice in the UK in relation to the restitution.
184 diaspora community members responded to an online survey, as well as via three online focus group discussions. 22 semi-structured interviews were completed with museum professionals, diaspora professionals and African government stakeholders active in this area.
The research findings show examples of good practice within UK institutions and
among diaspora communities. It also shows that diaspora respondents are overwhelmingly (approximately 80% of all respondents) in favour of the return of stolen African artefacts and human remains to their countries and communities of origin.
‘Many of these icons are masterpieces of the human imagination and creativity. Each icon represents sophisticated ideas about art, cultural production and African history – at a time when so little is understood by Africans and others about our history,’ said Onyekachi Wambu, AFFORD’s Executive Director, as the documents were published today.
‘Each iconic masterpiece also represents a story about how and why it was created, as well as the colonial story of how it was, in most cases, violently looted. As we have seen with the toppling of the statue of the slaver, Edward Colston, cultural items provide opportunities for wider conversations about the past and the future we wish to construct.
‘Ordinary Africans, students, and scholars need these icons to stimulate those conversations for change and renewal.’
The shorter policy brief, Key issues around the restitution of stolen African artefacts, explores the policy and legal issues around restitution.[Read more…] about AFFORD publishes guiding documents in Return of the Icons campaign