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    Uganda Receives 39 Cultural Heritage Artefacts from Cambridge University

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     Uganda Receives 39 Cultural Heritage Artefacts from Cambridge University
    • June 9, 2024 • 1 month ago
    in summary
    Uganda's Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities received 39 artefacts from Cambridge University, repatriating pieces taken during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by British colonialists.

    In a bid towards reclaiming Uganda's cultural heritage, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities received 39 artefacts from the Cambridge University on Saturday.

    These valuable pieces, taken from Uganda during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by British colonial administrators, anthropologists, missionaries, and soldiers, were transported back to Uganda aboard a Qatar Airways flight that landed at the Entebbe International Airport at 2 pm.

    The crates contained human artefacts originating from the regions of Buganda, Bunyoro, Lango, and Ankore, reflecting Uganda's rich and diverse cultural history. The symbolic reception of these cultural treasures was led by Hon. Martin Mugarra, the state minister of tourism.

    He emphasized the significance of this repatriation, noting that while many Ugandan artefacts remain in the United Kingdom, this consignment is the largest received by any African country.

    "This is an important addition that will increase our tourism products and boost the cultural heritage of our country," Hon. Minister Mugarra stated.

    He added that the artefacts would be displayed at the Uganda Museum, inviting both Ugandans and foreign visitors to witness these historical objects returned from Europe.

    The artefacts, which had been housed at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for over a century, were returned following successful negotiations between Ugandan authorities and the British institution.

    Among the returned items are five human remains from Buganda, known as the Balongo, which were originally taken from the Wamala tombs.

    Jackline Besigye Nyiracyiza, the acting commissioner of museums and monuments at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, revealed that the artefacts would eventually be returned to their respective communities and kingdoms.

    "We are going to return the artefacts to their respective communities/kingdoms and negotiations are ongoing," She said!

    She also expressed gratitude for the funding support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, which facilitated the research and transportation of the artefacts, costing over $100,000.

    This marks the second repatriation of Ugandan cultural heritage from Cambridge University, the first being in July 1962 during Uganda's independence celebrations when the Kibuuka Regalia were returned.

    Derrick Peterson, a professor of museum and anthropology at Michigan University, underscored the importance of restoring African identity by repatriating such artefacts, stolen during colonial times.

    The artefacts will undergo acclimatization to Ugandan conditions before being returned to their original communities.

    This repatriation is a significant step in preserving and celebrating Uganda's rich cultural heritage, enhancing the nation's tourism and cultural narrative.

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