Introduction: Issues of Restitution and Repatriation of Looted and Illegally Acquired African Objects in European Museums

  • Wazi Apoh University of Ghana
  • Andreas Mehler Freiburg University


Until recently, scholars have shied away from intellectually debating restitution, return, reparation and repatriation issues of such controversial objects on the African continent. French President Macron’s speech on his promise to return such objects in French museums to their respective countries in Africa and the
report of the commission he set up has provided an impetus. However, the return, repatriation and restitution of looted art from Africa sent or sold to European museums by agents of European colonizing missions are the interrogative centre stage of this special issue meant to garner frameworks for resolution.

Author Biographies

Wazi Apoh, University of Ghana

Prof. Wazi Apoh ( is Associate Professor of Archaeology and Heritage
Studies at the University of Ghana. His specialty is in the fields of African archaeology,
cultural heritage management, contract/salvage archaeology, forensic archaeology, the
archaeology of German missionization and colonization of ‘Togoland’ and the archaeology
of slavery in the Southern Volta of Ghana. He was Head of Department of Archaeology and
Heritage Studies, University of Ghana between 2016 and 2018 and two time President of
the West African Archaeological Association (WAAA) between 2015 and 2019. He is the
author of Revelations of Domination and Resilience: Unearthing the Buried Past of the
Akpinis, Akans, Germans and British at Kpando, Ghana. Sub-Saharan Publishers, Accra
(2019) and Concise Anthropology: The Five-Field Approach (2010). His co-edited books
include ‘Germany and Its West African Colonies: “Excavations” of German Colonialism in
Post-Colonial Times.’ (With Professor B. Lundt; 2013) and also ‘Current Perspectives on
the Archaeology of Ghana,’ (with Professor J. Anquandah and Professor B. Kankpeyeng;

Andreas Mehler, Freiburg University

Prof. Andreas Mehler ( is Director of the Arnold
Bergstraesser Institute and Professor of Political Science at Freiburg University, Germany.
He was Senior Researcher at the Conflict Prevention Network in Berlin between 2001 and
2002 and Director of the GIGA Institute of African Affairs in Hamburg between 2002 and
2015. He is the president of the executive council of the Merian Institute for Advanced
Studies in Africa (MIASA). Together with Henning Melber, he has co-edited the peerreviewed
and fully open-access academic journal Africa Spectrum from 2009 to 2018
and is co-editor of the yearly Africa Yearbook. Mehler has published extensively on
conflict and security, state and statehood, power sharing, French Africa policy and
democratisation in Africa south of the Sahara


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2343-6530