France Returns a 19th Century Sword Back to Senegal
The sword belonged to a Senegalese anti-colonial struggle fighter Omar Saidou Tall.
France has returned a 19th century sword back to Senegal. The sword belonged to Senegalese Islamic scholar and anti-colonial struggle fighter Omar Saidou Tall. The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently handed over the sword to Senegal's President Macky Sall in a ceremony held in Dakar this past Sunday. The sword is now in the Museum of Black Civilizations of Dakar. The move comes after the Senegalese government's request for France to return more than 100 artifacts housed in French museums and France's President Emmanuel Macron subsequently commissioned a report entitled "The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics".
President Sall described the moment as "historic" while Prime Minister Phillipe described it as the "first step" in France returning at least 90 000 artifacts stolen from African countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. "The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics" reports that at least 46 000 of these artifacts are currently being housed in the Paris' Quai Branly museum's Africa Collection.
According to the BBC, El Hajj Mamadou Mactar Thiam, who is a descendant of Tall, alleges that the French also looted books which formed a part of the scholar's colossal library. He says that, "They took everything, including his library, in Segou, and I hope that all our books that are now in France will be returned to us."