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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.


The ornate copper-gilded Ethiopian crown features an image of the Holy Trinity as well as Jesus' apostles and is thought to be one of twenty currently in existence according to the BBC. It is also thought that the crown may have been gifted to a church by the warlord, Welde Sellase, a couple hundred years ago. Describing his discovery of the priceless artifact, Asfaw says that, "I looked into the suitcase and saw something really amazing and I thought 'this is not right. This has been stolen. This should not be here. This belongs to Ethiopia." He adds that, "But I knew if I gave it back, it would just disappear again."

Asfaw then contacted Arthur Brand who is known as the "Indiana Jones of the art world". Brand immediately sought permission from Dutch authorities to have the crown placed in a highly secured facility until its authenticity has been verified by both the Dutch and Ethiopian governments before its return to Addis Ababa. Describing the crown itself, Brand says that, "It's an a amazing piece. It's very big, I feel pity for the people who had to wear it on their heads because when you wear this for a couple of hours your neck hurts."

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New Fela Kuti Reissues & Box Set Are Coming This Year

Partisan Records has shared initial news of upcoming Fela 50th anniversary reissues and a new box set on the way.

Fela Kuti fans have a lot to look forward to this year as Partisan Records (home to Fela's catalog) has announced plans to release special reissues of two 1971 albums: London Scene and Live! With Ginger Baker, the classic album in which Fela and his band Africa '70 where joined by the Cream drummer.

The label has also said they plan to release the fifth installment in their ongoing Fela vinyl reissue box set series, which are handpicked by notable names in the music world. Previous volumes have been curated by Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Brian Eno.

Partisan has also shared that they will also be launching a scholarship program at Fela's alma mater, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London this year. The label will be sharing more information on all of that exciting Fela Kuti 2021 news soon, so keep and eye out.

In the meantime, Fela Kuti is currently leading the fan vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can head here to cast a daily ballot for the afrobeat legend. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.

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