International Journal of Cultural Policy | VOL. 28
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Ethics, values and legality in the restoration of cultural artefacts: the case of South Africa

Publication Date Jul 29, 2022

Abstract

ABSTRACT As a relatively new democracy, South Africa is seeking ways to protect and promote its African heritage. There is increased interest in the repatriation of South African cultural artefacts, mostly taken during the colonial era, currently held in western museums. Internationally, calls for the repatriation of cultural artefacts from western museum collections back to their originating countries in the context of decolonisation and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement are increasing. As a means of advancing the debate and feeding into draft South African policy, this paper examines the arguments for and against the repatriation of African cultural artefacts from the point of view of an African country. A values-based approach is used to analyse the debate. The ways in which South Africa has made progress towards defining, and protecting, artefacts ‘of national importance’, and some of the repatriation experiences of other sub-Saharan countries are discussed.

Concepts

Cultural Artefacts Western Museum Values-based Approach African Heritage South Africa sub-Saharan Countries Colonial Era Experiences Of Countries Repatriation Experiences South African Policy

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