Berlin (AP) – German officials said Monday that numerous priceless artifacts taken from African nations during colonial times will be permanently returned.
Among the artifacts is a shell-studded statue of the mother goddess Ngonnso’, which holds great spiritual significance for the Nso’ people of northwest Cameroon, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation said.
The statue has been part of the collection of Berlin’s Ethnological Museum since 1903, after it was “donated” by a German colonial officer who had taken it from the Nso’ by force.
The foundation said its board recommended the statue be returned following lengthy talks between museum representatives and delegations from Cameroon.
The board also approved the permanent return of 23 artifacts, including jewelry, tools and fashion items, to Namibia. The objects, also stolen during the colonial period from 1884 to 1919, were sent to Namibia last month for research purposes and will now remain there.
The foundation said that its president has also been authorized by the board to sign an agreement on the return of objects Germany looted from Tanzania during the Maji Maji Rebellion and other conflicts during the early 20th century colonial rule.