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The famous burial mask of King Tutankhamun on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt. Photo by Mark Fischer via Flickr.

Egypt Moves to Stop Sale of King Tut Statue In London Auction

"Once again, we will not be negligent or allow anybody to sell any Egyptian artifact whatsoever," says the Egyptian embassy.

The Egyptian government is working to prevent the sale of a 3,000 year old statue that is set to go up for auction next month in London, reports BBC Africa.

The ancient statue, which is 11-inches high and features the image of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (popularly known as King Tut), is set to be sold by Christie's Auction House in London on July 4, but Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities as well as the Egyptian Embassy in London have appealed to the auction house as well as to UNESCO, demanding that the sale be cancelled. It is estimated that the statue, known as the "Amen Head," could sell for up to $5.1 million.

Egypt has also asked that Christie's provide documentation to prove rightful ownership of the statue, as many Egyptian cultural relics were stolen from the country during the colonial era.

READ: Bringing African Artifacts Home


The Egyptian embassy has asked the UK Foreign Office oversee the return of the statue. "If it's proven that any piece has been illegally moved out of the country, we will take legal action with the Interpol," said an embassy spokesperson. "We will never allow anyone to sell any ancient Egyptian artifact."

Christie's auction house, however, has claimed legal ownership of the bust, writing in a statement that it was acquired from Munich-based dealer Heinz Herzer in 1985. "We would not offer for sale any object where there was concern over ownership or export," said the auction house in a statement according to CNN. "Christie's strictly adheres to bilateral treaties and international laws with respect to cultural property and patrimony."

This is the latest in Egypt's plan to regain all of its stolen artifacts. Countries such as Senegal, Benin and Ethiopia have made similar appeals for full art restitution from Western countries.

In January, a cartouche of King Amenhotep I was returned to Egypt after it was tracked down online and stopped from going on auction in London.

For more on the topic of African art repatriation, read our recent interview with curator and cultural anthropologist Niama Safia Sandy about the future of art restitution on the continent and what it would take to bring African artifacts back home for good.

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The Netherlands Will Return an Eighteenth-Century Crown to Ethiopia

The priceless crown was found by a former refugee who hid it in his apartment for two decades.

An eighteenth-century Ethiopian crown has been in the possession of Sirak Asfaw, a former refugee and now Dutch citizen, for the past twenty years. The AFP reports that Asfaw discovered the stolen crown in a suitcase that had been left by one one of many fellow Ethiopian guests who passed through his apartment in Rotterdam, Netherlands. After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was elected to power in April 2018 and parliament went on to appoint Sahle-Work Zewde as Ethiopia's first woman president in October of the same year, Asfaw was confident that the crown would not "disappear" again when it was returned home.

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The Anime-Inspired 'Adorned by Chi' Story is Being Developed for Film, Animation, Comics and More

Nigerian creator, Jacque Aye, has signed a deal with MWM Universe.

Jacque Aye is the creator of Adorned by Chi, an anime-inspired story that borrows various elements from Nigerian Igbo culture and folklore. Aye has recently signed a deal with entertainment and media company MWM Universe which will see Adorned by Chi being developed into comic books, literature, film, television, animation and merchandise.

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Several People Have Been Killed During Protests in Guinea

Guineans are protesting against changes to the constitution which will allow President Alpha Conde to run for a third term.

At least five people have died during protests in Guinea's Conakry and Mamou after police opened fire on them, according to Aljazeera. The protests come just after President Alpha Conde instructed his government to look into drafting a new constitution that will allow him to remain in power past the permissible two terms. Conde's second five-year term will come to an end next year but as is the unfortunate case with many African leaders, the 81-year-old is intent on running for office yet again.

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Photo by Hamish Brown

In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

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