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Britain Will Return a Stolen Bronze Cockerel to Nigeria

The Benin bronze or 'okukor' was stolen from Benin City, now Nigeria, in the 19th century and given to Cambridge University's Jesus College.

Cambridge University's Jesus College will return a bronze cockerel which was looted by the British in Benin City, now Nigeria, in the 19th century. The cockerel, which is referred to as the Benin bronze or 'okukor' was removed from display back in 2016 after students and academics who are part of the Legacy of Slavery Working Party (LSWP) took a vote and insisted it be repatriated to Nigeria, according to the BBC. This was shortly after students at Oxford University had called for the removal of the statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes from Oriel College.


At least 900 bronze artifacts are still housed within the British Museum after imperialist troops occupied and pillaged what was then Benin City in 1897. The Daily Telegraph reports that in 2016, students managed to obtain the support of Prince Edun Akenzua, the great-grandson of King Oba Ovoramwen, from whose kingdom the bronze artifacts were looted. In an interview, Prince Edun said, "It is something I have been campaigning for myself for many years without much success." The then 82-year-old added that, "It is about time these statues came home to their original owners."

Speaking about the bronze cockerel which stood for years in the main hall of Jesus College, Master of Jesus College Sonita Alleyne says, "We are an honest community, and after thorough investigation into the provenance of the Benin bronze, our job is to seek the best way forward." She denied that the college was attempting to erase history and claimed that the decision to return the Benin bronze was a result of the LSWP's work.

The LSWP, which includes both students and academics, was launched in May of this year to investigate the links the Benin bronze may have to slavery and the slave trade.

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Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

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