Germany hands over stolen historical artefacts to Namibia

APA-Windhoek (Namibia)

Germany on Monday handed over to the Namibian government some 23 pieces of ancient jewellery, tools and other objects allegedly stolen from the southwestern African country during colonial rule.

The artefacts, which included an ancient three-headed drinking vessel, a doll wearing a traditional dress and various spears, hairpieces and other fashion accessories, were handed over to the National Museum of Namibia by Germany's Ethnological Museum of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. 

"All the artefacts were collected during the Germany colonial era from different Namibian communities," Museum Association of Namibia chairperson Hilma Kautondokwa said during the handover ceremony in Windhoek.

According to the Ethnological Museum of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the artefacts are being “loaned back” to Namibia as part of the Germany government’s commitment to repair ties with its former colony.

The foundation, which runs the Berlin Museum, said it does not expect the objects to be returned to Germany.

Rights activists have, however, questioned why the objects were not simply repatriated to Namibia, rather than being put on long-term loan.

Last year, Germany officially recognized that it committed genocide in Namibia, which was then known as German South West Africa. It pledged a billion euros in financial support to descendants of the victims.

German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in the 1904-1908 massacres — labelled by historians as the first genocide of the 20th century.

The atrocities have poisoned relations between Namibia and Germany for decades.

Over the last years, Germany has returned skulls and other human remains to Namibia that it had sent to Berlin during the period for "scientific" experiments.


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