Stolen Soul – Africa’s Looted Art

DW Transtel | 2020
1 x 43 min

European museums showcase their international collections with pride, but they often brush aside questions about how some of the artifacts came to be in their possession. Those stories can sometimes be brutal and bloody, particularly in the case of items plundered and stolen by European colonial rulers, for the most part in Africa. In the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of African cultural assets were brought to Germany and other European countries. Many Africans view these objects as ‘stolen souls,’ leading to a bleak existence in ethnographic museums far from home. Some German experts would still rather see the artifacts as being of ‘unknown provenance’. What does the future hold for these works of art? Shouldn’t African nations have control over their own cultural heritage? Artifacts in the spotlight in recent years include priceless bronzes from Nigeria, an ornate ship’s prow from Cameroon, and the Witbooi Bible from Namibia. Will these objects find their way back home from Germany? Why is it so difficult to liberate Africa’s ‘stolen souls’? Young Africans say it is important for them to reconnect with artifacts of such significance in their cultures.

Scroll to top
Selection Cart