He and an associate prised the carved wooden ornament from its stand in the Quai Branly museum as a third man live-streamed the act on social media.(Reuters)
He and an associate prised the carved wooden ornament from its stand in the Quai Branly museum as a third man live-streamed the act on social media.(Reuters)

Seizing art: One African man’s protest against colonial ‘pillagers’

In June, Mwazulu Diyabanza stood in a Paris museum next to a 19th century funerary post from central Africa, and berated France for taking it and tens of thousands of other art works from its former colonies.
By Reuters | Posted by Jahnavi Gupta | Paris
UPDATED ON OCT 04, 2020 07:09 PM IST

In June, Mwazulu Diyabanza stood in a Paris museum next to a 19th century funerary post from central Africa, and berated France for taking it and tens of thousands of other art works from its former colonies.

He and an associate prised the carved wooden ornament from its stand in the Quai Branly museum as a third man live-streamed the act on social media. Diyabanza was stopped by a security guard as he made for the exit.

“My mother used to tell me that when the Europeans arrived, they pillaged these artifacts, they pillaged our patrimony,” he told Reuters. “We’re in a fight to recover our (cultural) wealth.”

A Congolese who has lived in France for 20 years, Diyabanza belongs to a pan-African movement that is pressing France to return those artifacts and make reparations for acts of slavery.

He appeared in court on Wednesday charged with attempted theft. Prosecutors demanded a fine, and a verdict is due on Oct 14.

Diyabanza’s case has led to renewed scrutiny of France’s history in a year in which anti-racism protests have forced developed nations to re-examine how they remember their colonial pasts.

Diyabanza, who faces a second theft charge for removing an artifact from a Marseille museum and taking it to a police station, considers his actions politically justified.

“Who is the real thief in this story? The thief is he who takes something fraudulently. I’m the legitimate inheritor,” he said.

A huge part of Africa’s cultural heritage is on display in Europe. The Quai Branly Museum in Paris holds some 70,000 African objects, with London’s British Museum holding thousands more, French art historian Benedicte Savoy told Reuters in 2018.

That year, Savoy co-authored a report with Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr recommending the widespread return of cultural artifacts removed from Africa, identifying 46,000 objects that would qualify at the Quai Branly. The museum declined to comment for this article.

Also in 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron said “African heritage can’t just be in European private collections and museums”.

Diyabanza wholeheartedly agrees. “People see beautiful buildings. We hear the cries of women and children,” he said.

So far, however, records indicate that fewer than 30 African artifacts in French collections have been handed back.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The organisers of the Berlinale, or Berlin Film Festival, now in its 71st year, have always prided themselves on running screenings that are open to an enthusiastic public, unlike Venice and Cannes, its main rivals in the festival calendar.(Instagram)
The organisers of the Berlinale, or Berlin Film Festival, now in its 71st year, have always prided themselves on running screenings that are open to an enthusiastic public, unlike Venice and Cannes, its main rivals in the festival calendar.(Instagram)

Pandemic forces Berlin Film Festival to go online

Reuters, Berlin
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 09:07 AM IST
The Berlinale, one of the world's most open and public film festivals, begins on Monday in a decidedly low-key, private fashion, being streamed to a select audience of journalists and industry professionals rather than playing to packed cinemas.
Close
Since every wasp, including the queen, in the Ropalidia marginata colony is born identical, Dr Raghavendra Gadagkar and his team of research students colour code each individual. (Souvik Mandal)
Since every wasp, including the queen, in the Ropalidia marginata colony is born identical, Dr Raghavendra Gadagkar and his team of research students colour code each individual. (Souvik Mandal)

With insects, this man knows wasps going on

By Natasha Rego
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:21 PM IST
Dr Raghavendra Gadagkar, one of the world’s leading animal behaviour scientists, has spent the last 40 years studying the Ropalidia marginata, a type of wasp commonly found around human habitation. He believes the colonies could offer clues on how humans can manage conflict and competition better.
Close
Auto-complete: The Weekly Puzzle by Dilip D’souza
Auto-complete: The Weekly Puzzle by Dilip D’souza

Auto-complete: The Weekly Puzzle by Dilip D’souza

By Dilip D’Souza
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:19 PM IST
Not far from where I live is a stretch of road on which there are always five or six cars
Close
HT Image
HT Image

New study explains why the rich seem happier

By Harikrishnan Nair
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:18 PM IST
In the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Matthew Killingsworth reports that, after tracking the lives of over 33,000 volunteers in the US for seven years, he is yet to see the happiness plateau
Close
At Lijjat, members roll dough on special platforms for uniformly sized papads. The co-operative sells more than 4 billion of them a year.
At Lijjat, members roll dough on special platforms for uniformly sized papads. The co-operative sells more than 4 billion of them a year.

Rolling out a revolution: 62 years of Lijjat Papad

By Natasha Rego
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:14 PM IST
The Lijjat papad success story will soon be made into a movie. See how the co-operative still puts women first and rakes in the profits more than half a century later
Close
Lungi-kurtas are the ’70s trend that time forgot. Zeenat Aman danced in hers in Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
Lungi-kurtas are the ’70s trend that time forgot. Zeenat Aman danced in hers in Hare Rama Hare Krishna.

Shining through the Seventies. Then mysteriously: It’s a wrap!

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:12 PM IST
An ode to the lungi-kurta, always in silk, always as resplendent loungewear, which vanished without a trace
Close
Lonar Lake in Maharashtra that turned pink recently. “For months, people who wanted to visit kept asking ‘Is this true?’ ‘Did someone colour the water?’ ‘Is the colour still the same?’,” says Sailesh Sadar, a local tourist guide. (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Lonar Lake in Maharashtra that turned pink recently. “For months, people who wanted to visit kept asking ‘Is this true?’ ‘Did someone colour the water?’ ‘Is the colour still the same?’,” says Sailesh Sadar, a local tourist guide. (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)

Code Pink: Why do lakes change colour?

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:22 PM IST
In July, the Lonar Lake in Maharashtra turned bright pink. Turns out, water bodies tend to change colour when an already saline lake sees an increase in salinity even when nothing but some algae and bacteria grows
Close
Ahmer Siddiqui and Siddhartha Dutta travelled across 30 states over 77 days, starting from first week of October 2020 to bring attention to the humanitarian crises resulting from Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns.
Ahmer Siddiqui and Siddhartha Dutta travelled across 30 states over 77 days, starting from first week of October 2020 to bring attention to the humanitarian crises resulting from Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns.

India from the front seat: A project to record lockdown tales

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:20 PM IST
Two men, a car and an epic journey across a nation in lockdown. Siddhartha Dutta and Ahmer Siddiqui’s Road Ashram project offers a firsthand look at how we suffered and survived through the pandemic
Close
Keep your clues simple and relatable. Like this South American river, that lends its name to a global online brand. (Shutterstock)
Keep your clues simple and relatable. Like this South American river, that lends its name to a global online brand. (Shutterstock)

Planning a quiz? Here’s how to pop the questions

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:14 PM IST
What makes for a perfect quiz? Clues that go past Googled facts, and an audience that enjoys discovering what they didn’t know they knew. Here’s how good quizmasters do it
Close
Lisbeth Salander, aka the titular Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is a believable hacker, out on a mission to unearth a long-buried crime (Sony Pictures)
Lisbeth Salander, aka the titular Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is a believable hacker, out on a mission to unearth a long-buried crime (Sony Pictures)

All right, I’m in! Our favourite on-screen hackers, programmers and techies

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:52 PM IST
Need a plot device? Bring in the IT experts. See how our understanding of tech evolved with pop-culture
Close
Intel employees in 1971. This California facility is where the 4004 was initially manufactured. (Image courtesy: Intel)
Intel employees in 1971. This California facility is where the 4004 was initially manufactured. (Image courtesy: Intel)

The microprocessor is 50 years old. But what makes it so special?

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:19 PM IST
Half a century ago, Intel’s 4004 chip was born, ushering in the digital revolution. Take a closer look at the little chip that changed the world, altered India’s place in it, and quietly powers modern life
Close
“We’re trying to simplify the entire objective of the Indian food,” says chef Chintan Pandya (left) who has created a menu that breaks free from butter chicken and tikka masalas, with restaurateur Roni Mazumbar at Dhamaka. (Adam Friedlander)
“We’re trying to simplify the entire objective of the Indian food,” says chef Chintan Pandya (left) who has created a menu that breaks free from butter chicken and tikka masalas, with restaurateur Roni Mazumbar at Dhamaka. (Adam Friedlander)

Meet the men stirring up a storm with regional khana in NYC

By Yashwant Raj
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 07:47 PM IST
Chef Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, launched their third Indian restaurant, Dhamaka, on Valentine’s Day. make way for pork salad, Champaran Meat and other delicacies.
Close
Venues announced areas for public school graduations, dedicated space for arts activities for young people and an outdoor reading room created with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.(Pixabay)
Venues announced areas for public school graduations, dedicated space for arts activities for young people and an outdoor reading room created with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.(Pixabay)

Lincoln Center to emerge from pandemic with outdoor shows

AP, New York
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 07:10 PM IST
Lincoln Center intends to emerge from the novel coronavirus pandemic by creating 10 outdoor stages for performances and rehearsals in New York City starting April 7.
Close
Namboothiri, 81, one of the widely acclaimed poets of contemporary Malayalam literature, was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014.(Wikimedia Commons)
Namboothiri, 81, one of the widely acclaimed poets of contemporary Malayalam literature, was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014.(Wikimedia Commons)

Malayalam poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri passes away

PTI, Thiruvananthapuram
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:41 PM IST
Well-known poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri died here in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, family sources said.
Close
The painting “Guernica”, considered one of Picasso’s masterpieces and by many art critics as perhaps the most powerful anti-war painting in history, hangs in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid.(AP)
The painting “Guernica”, considered one of Picasso’s masterpieces and by many art critics as perhaps the most powerful anti-war painting in history, hangs in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid.(AP)

Iconic tapestry of Picasso's 'Guernica' is gone from the UN

AP, United Nations
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:47 PM IST
The iconic tapestry of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” is gone from its place of honor outside the U.N. Security Council in the United Nations headquarters complex overlooking New York’s East River.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP