top of page
gold1.jpg

Asante

gold

returns

gold3.jpg

Ghana's looted Asante gold comes home

 

By RACHEL AMA ASAA ENGMANN

The first collection of seven objects is expected from the Fowler Museum at the University of California in Los Angeles. The second collection of 32 will arrive from the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in the UK. These artefacts are being loaned to the Asante people for six years. Archaeologist and Ghana heritage specialist Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann spoke to the Asantehene's technical advisor for the project, historian and museum economist Ivor Agyeman-Duah, about the journey to return the items and its implications for cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonization of museums.

LOS ANGELESAfter 150 years, 39 artefacts that form part of Asante's royal regalia are due to return to the Asantehene (ruler of the Asante people) in Kumasi, Ghana, in February and April this year. The Asante empire was the largest and most powerful in the region in the 18th century and controlled an area that was rich in gold. Many of the gold royal artefacts were looted by British troops during the third Anglo-Asante war of 1874 (Sagrenti War).

They were royal regalia that was looted during in 1874 from the palace in Kumasi after the sacking of the city by British colonial military troops. There was another a punitive expedition in 1896 which led to further looting. They included ceremonial swords and ceremonial cups, some of them very important in terms of a palace's measurement of royalty. For instance, the Mponponsuo sword, created 300 years ago, dates back to the legendary Okomfo (spiritual leader) linked with the founding of the empire, Okomfo Anokye. This sword is what the Asantehene used to swear the oath of allegiance to his people. Chiefs used the same sword to swear their oaths to the Asantehene.

Some of the items were sold at auction on the open market in London; art collectors bought them and eventually donated some of them to museums (some were kept in private collections). The British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum also bought some of them.

However, not every item you see at the British Museum was looted. For instance, there were cultural exchanges between the Asantehene Osei Bonsu and T.E. Bowdich, an emissary of the African Company of Merchants who travelled to Kumasi in 1817 to negotiate trade. Some gifts were given to Bowdich, who deposited them at the British Museum later on. There were 14 of these items.

The issue has been on the drawing board for half a century. It's not just an immediate concern of the current Asantehene. It has been a concern of the last three occupants of the stool (throne). But this year is critical because it marks 150 years since the Sagrenti War. It also marks 100 years since the return of the Asante- hene Agyeman Prempeh after his exile in Seychelles and 25 years since the current Asantehene, Oseu Tutu II, ascended the stool.

So, while in London in May 2023, after having official discussions with directors of these museums, he reopened discussions and negotiations. He asked me and Malcolm McLeod, former curator and scholar at the British Museum and vice-principal at the University of Glasgow, to help in the technical decisions that would be made. We've been working on this for the past nine months.

The moral right to ownership does exist. But there are also the laws of antiquity in the UK. The Victoria & Albert and the British Museum are national museums. They are governed by very strict laws which do not permit de-accessioning or permanently removing a work of art or other object from a museum's collection to sell it or otherwise dispose of it.

That had always been the constraining factor over the last 50 years. But there was also a way that we could have these items for a maximum of six years. Not all the objects are being exhibited at the British Museum. Many have never been exhibited and lie in storage in a warehouse.

Based on the circumstances and the trinity of anniversaries, we came to an agreement. Discussions will however continue between us and these museums to find a lasting agreement.

Of course, the Ghana experience will be important for restitution claims from other countries in Africa.

The fact that over the last couple of months we were able to reach some form of agreement for this to happen is testimony of the interest in multicultural agreements.

 

Any set of objects that is 150 years old (or older) will be of interest to many people. Such artefacts help us to connect the past with the present. They are significant for how our people were, in terms of creativity and technology, how they were able to use gold and other artistic properties. They are also something that will inspire those who are in the craft of gold production today.

Manhiya Palace Museum reopens this year in April. The exhibition of these objects is going to increase visitor attendance at the museum. It receives about 80,000 visitors a year and we estimate that it could rise to 200,000 a year with the return of these objects. This will generate revenue and allow us to expand and develop our own museums.

Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann, director of Christiansborg Archaeological Heritage Project, associate professor at Africa Institute Sharjah, and associate graduate faculty, Rutgers University.

This article is republished from The Conversation Africa under a Creative Commons license. 

Durban-at-Night-Pic-by-Jacek-Proniewicz.jpg

Durban, South Africa strikes quite an alluring pose on the seashore at midnight with marina in foreground.

DIASPORA

 

JEWEL OF AFRICA

 

Adventure
to the Cradle
of Mankind

METROPOLIS NEWS SERVICE

LOS ANGELES (MNS)—Metropolis Newspapers, the corporate umbrella for  Charging Big Horn and Compton Herald—Los Angeles- and Compton-based digital newspapers—and Minnesota Meteor of Brooklyn Park, Minn., has released a signature 54-part series featuring the Africa titled, “JEWEL OF AFRICA AFRIPEDIA,” an exhaustive in-depth exploration of the  the continent of Africa.

JEWEL OF AFRICA examines the 54 nations that make-up the cradle of man—each with its own sovereign government, GDP, culture, natural resources, language, military, and religion.

tusker.jpg

According to Jarrette Fellows, Jr., CEO of Metropolis Newspapers, “Africa is Eden. She is not poor, broke, starving and destitute, but rather, a haven of some of the fastest-growing nations in the world with a combined exploding gross domestic product, that has transformed many from third-world to first world nations over the course of a decade due to newly uncovered natural resources.

“A miracle is unfolding in Africa, largely in the nations that make-up the southern region below the Sahara desert, with rapidly expanding wealth, stature, and political power, strategically positioning Africa within the global community of nations in the 21st century,” Fellows said.

Previously unknown deposits of oil and natural gas have been discovered in nations south of the OPEC states in North Africa and the Middle East, greatly enhancing their economic clout and bargaining power. Additionally, abundant reserves of precious metals and minerals—gold, silver, copper, diamonds; precious stones—rubies, emeralds, sapphires, opals, topaz; and raw materials—tanzanite, lithium, bauxite, coltan, iron ore, cobalt, coal; and heavy metals—uranium, cadmium, chromium, and lead have also been uncovered.

Beyond that, Africa is beautiful beyond description. White sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, lakes and rivers abounding with fish and other fresh-water sustenance. Africa is a showcase for cascading waterfalls, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, rolling green valleys, rainbows, twinkling star-ridden night skies, and snowcapped moun- tain peaks.

Africa is a land of kings and queens, princes, and princesses. Her people are gorgeous—the women, men, and children—not conforming to traditional standards, but, rather her own.

Africa is a provider too. She is blessed with fertile lands where anything grows, that could feed the entire world  At present, Africa only tills 3 percent of her arable land. The agricultural growth potential is quite literally unfathomable.

What’s more, words are inadequate to describe Africa's vast wild creation—unlike no other gathering of animals on Earth. God's lower creation is not lowly, but magnificent. His elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, cape buffalo, horned antelope, eagles, hawks, and falcons are royalty, and not only them—many small creatures grace the savanna and rainforest too.

Opportunity awaits in Africa—from Angola to Zimbabwe. New business has only to be seeded and cultivated. Black Americans with academic training, knowledge and gifts, need only travel to Africa to discover this. The continent will make room for you.

Africa has so much to give to African Americans. After all, we are her children—her progeny and she is calling us home. Yes, we have a homeland. Those who have found a lack of fair access to opportunity in America will fall in love with Africa, the land of our roots. Africa has much to offer us, as we have to offer her!

Lord God Almighty did not forsake Black Americans. He provided a homeland over-flowing with milk and honey. Many African nations are calling us home to citizenship to invest in them, to use our knowledge to aid in the development, management and economic growth of the continent to assure the promises of prosperity to 1.5 billion African people by an all-wise creator.

You are invited to the exciting interactive adventure-tour of 54 nations in alphabetical order from A-Z, at JEWEL OF AFRICA AFRIPEDIA, exclusively in the Charging Big Horn, Compton Herald, and Minnesota Meteor: 

Visit: www.thechargingbighorn.com/jewelofafrica  www.comptonherald.org/jewelofafrica  www.minnesotameteor.com/jewelofafrica

 
mau16 Tamarin-sunrise-Mauritius.jpg

California-based Metropolis Newspapers has joined with the International Multiracial Shared Commerce Organization in New York to introduce Black investors to the vast business opportunities in beautiful Africa.

 

Africa focus of joint effort

 

To dispel myths, highlight opportunities

LOS ANGELES (MNS)—Metropolis Newspapers, the corporate umbrella for Charging Big Horn and Compton Herald, Los Angeles- and Compton-based digital newspapers, has released a signature 54-part series featuring the cradle of mankind titled, "JEWEL OF AFRICA," an exhaustive in depth exploration of the nations that com- prise the continent.

In a joint effort to educate Black Americans to the unique opportunities available in Africa for commerce and business development, Metropolis Newspapers has joined with the New York-based International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization (IMSCO) to encourage a louder voice among Black Americans at the bargaining table respecting the proliferation of Africa’s vast wealth.

JEWEL OF AFRICA examines the 54 nations that make-up the continent—each with its own sovereign govern- ment, GDP, culture, natural resources, language, military, and religion—and the treasure trove of mineral and raw material wealth they possess, along with the continent's multiple-million acres of arable land that could feed the world.

According to Jarrette Fellows Jr., CEO of Metropolis Newspapers, “Africa in 2022 is Eden. She is not poor, broke, starving and destitute, but rather, a haven of the fastest-growing nations in the world with an exploding gross domestic product that has transformed many from third-world to first world nations in under a decade due to newly uncovered natural resources.

"A miracle is unfolding in Africa, largely in the nations that make-up the southern region below the Sahara desert, with rapidly expanding wealth, stature, and political power, strategically positioning Africa within the global community of nations in the 21st century," Fellows said, adding, Black Americans have a homeland in Africa, where they are being courted by African heads of state to return home, where in many instances they have been offered citizenship to live, work, and ply their education and skills.

“Africa seeks Black know-how from their counterparts in the US to help them manage their wealth and receive a percentage for their service," said Frank Weston, executive director of IMSCO, who has worked in Africa since 1978 to bring Black Americans to the bargaining table.

“We never left Africa. We never relinquished our citizenship," he said.

IMSCO has been brokering seats at the table for people of African descent for more than three decades. Wes-

ton says, even though his agency has endured for so long to open the door for Black Americans and others in the Diaspora, "IMSCO is [still] valid to all who support human rights. Some African officials in Africa and in the US, and European governments linked to the oil business, don’t support people of African descent or Black American-Africa co-development.

 

"This is [what ‘s] delaying IMSCO, which educates and assists in Black co-development," Weston said.

The JEWEL OF AFRICA treatise seeks to educate potential Black stakeholders in America and throughout the Diaspora of the vast opportunities available in Africa from business investment to education, and consulting as it relates to mining and procuring the oil, gas, and mineral wealth, along with managing the continent’s tremen- dous agricultural, textile, manufacturing, green energy, and digital potential.

Previously unknown deposits of oil and natural gas have been discovered in nations south of the OPEC states in North Africa and the Middle East, greatly enhancing their economic clout and bargaining power.

Additionally, vast reserves of precious metals and minerals like gold, silver, copper, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, opals, topaz, and raw materials like tanzanite, lithium, bauxite, iron ore, cobalt, coal; and heavy metals uranium, cadmium, chromium, and lead have also been uncovered.

Beyond that, Africa is beautiful beyond description. White sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, lakes and rivers abounding with fish and other fresh-water sustenance. Africa is a showcase for cascading waterfalls, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, rolling green valleys, rainbows, twinkling star-ridden night skies, and snowcapped mountain peaks.

"Africa is a land of kings and queens, princes, and princesses. Her people are gorgeous too—not conforming

to traditional standards, but, rather her own," Fellows noted. "Africa is a provider too. She is blessed with fertile lands that could feed the entire world, where anything grows. At present Africa only tills 3 percent of her arable land. The agricultural growth potential is quite literally unfathomable."

What’s more, words are inadequate to describe Africa's vast wild creation, Fellows said. "Unlike no other gath- ering of animals on Earth. God's lower creation is not lowly, but magnificent. His elephants, lions, buffalo, horned antelope, eagles, hawks, and falcons are royalty, and not only them—the small creatures grace the savanna and rainforest too.

Opportunity awaits in Africa too—from Angola to Zimbabwe, as nations like China and India have shown, deeply invested in Africa. 

"New business has only to be seeded and cultivated," said Fellows. "African Americans with academic back- grounds, knowledge and gifts, need only travel to Africa to find this out. The continent will make room for you.

"Africa has so much to give to African Americans. After all, we are her children—her progeny and she is calling us home. Yes, we have a homeland. Those who have found a lack of fair access to opportunity in America will fall in love with Africa, the land of our roots. Africa has much to offer us, as we have to offer her." Fellows said.

"God Almighty did not forsake Black Americans. We have a homeland over-flowing with milk and honey. Many African nations are calling us home to citizenship to invest in them, to use our knowledge to help our people there develop and build on the promises assured them by an all-wise creator," he concluded.

 

JEWEL OF AFRICA, an interactive adventure-tour of 54 nations in alphabetical order from A-Z, is available at

www.thechargingbighorn.com/jewelofafrica or www.comptonherald.org/jewelofafrica

bottom of page