Ghana Ruler Pushes Britain Museum To Return Their Gold
Written by Pheodora Waqanibaravi on May 20, 2023
The ruler of Ghana’s Asante people is pressing the British Museum to return gold items in its collection.The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who attended the Coronation of King Charles, later met the museum director Dr Hartwig Fischer for discussions. The British Museum’s collection includes works taken from the Asante palace in Kumasi during the war with the British of 1874. Ghana’s government made a formal request in 1974 from the then Asantahene, requesting the return of regalia and other items taken by British forces in 1874, 1896 and 1900. Since then, the British Museum says it has worked to establish a positive and ongoing collaboration with the Asantehene and Ghana’s Manhyia Palace Museum, which chronicles Asante culture. In recent times Ghana’s government has set up a Restitution Committee to look at the return of items taken from the Asante palace which are now in collections around the world. Nana Oforiatta Ayim, who sits on that Committee, told the BBC: “These objects are largely sacred ones and their return is about more than just restitution. It is also about reparation and repair, for the places they were taken from, but also those who did the taking.” She added that they are looking for a new relationship “not based on exploitation or oppression, but on equity and mutual respect”.Discussions at the British Museum are the first ever meeting between the Asantehene and the museum director, Dr Fischer.