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Black Activists Attempt to Remove Congolese Statue from Dutch Museum

A group of Black human rights activists, who want to reclaim stolen African artefacts from European museums, have been arrested after reportedly attempting to remove a sacred Congolese funeral statue from a Dutch museum.

A Black activist group, led by Congolese born Mwazulu Diyabanza, has been arrested after they livestreamed the removal of a Congolese funeral statue from Afrika Musuem in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Diyabanza spoke on behalf of the group which is reportedly part of a movement that aims to reclaim artefacts from European museums stolen during colonisation.


READ: Mexican Government Returns Stolen Bronze Sculpture to Nigeria

The activist group paid to enter the museum and then went on to record the action. Security guards then allegedly watched the human rights group as they removed the Congolese funeral statue. The police were subsequently alerted by security as they did not want to damage the statue in the midst of a row with the group. Diyabanza and group members were then arrested and handcuffed a few minutes after they existed the museum.

Diyabanza's actions coincide with recent news that Belgium has finally agreed to return Congolese Patrice Lumbamba's tooth to his family after years of petitions by his daughter, Juliana Lumbamba. The tooth is the only remaining body part of Congo's first fearless Prime Minister who was murdered in a coup on 17 January 1961. "The two front teeth were taken away by Belgian police officer Gérard Soete, then based in the Congo, who was involved in the grim, almost ritualistic disposal of the deposed Congolese prime minister's body and that of his associates," writes Percy Zvomuya of New Frame.

The rise in police brutality in cases such as those of George Floyd and Jacob Blake have resulted in increasing calls for justice for Black people under the Black Lives Matter movement. Reclaiming sacred artefacts from museums is part of the call which French President Emmanuel Macron committed to in 2017 saying that France would return items of cultural heritage to sub-Saharan Africa.

In June of this year, Diyabanza and five group members were arrested for stealing a similar funeral artefact from a Parisian museum. The group face up to seven years in prison and a fine of €100,000. Diyabanza has created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the fine. Diyabanza also stated that the act was "part of the recovery of our artworks that were all acquired by looting, robbery, violence during Belgium's rule of the West African country.

European countries have historically returned artefacts on their own terms. Ethopian artefacts were returned by Queen Elizabeth in 1965 and in 2017, the British Museum entered into talks to return artefacts to Nigeria and Benin.

In 2002, Saartjie Baartman's bodily remains were returned to South Africa 200 years after the Khoisan woman was exhibited as a "freak show" because of her naturally curvaceous African anatomy. The refusal by colonizing countries to return indigenous artefacts is yet another depiction of political power and the deliberate act to maintain colonial power hundreds of years after its end.

Watch the video below:

(YouTube)

The 10 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Black Sherif, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, M3NSA x M.anifest, and more.

As the summer winds down releases have slowed down just a tad, but it's nothing to fear because a number of our Ghanaian music faves are in album mode, and it's only a matter of time before they let loose! In the meantime the rest of our faves have been steady dishing out that fire, making for another month of dope releases. Want the scoop? Check out the best Ghanaian songs of the month below!

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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(YouTube)

The 7 Best East African Songs of the Month (July)

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July featured an array of incredible releases from East Africa's pop royalty as well as promising newbies.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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