28.02.2020 Feature Article

Will Portugal Be The Last Former Colonialist State To Restitute Looted African Artefacts?

Belem TowerTorre de Belm from where the discovery journeys started. 3Belem Tower(Torre de Belém) from where the discovery journeys started. (3)
28.02.2020 LISTEN

‘The truth is that there is an unstoppable process of return on course. Would the day come when African or Asian works now in Portugal take the return route?’ Visão. (1)

As readers know, many European States and their museums have been discussing the issue of restitution of African artefacts looted in the colonial period. Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Holland have all been busy, with different degrees of sincerity and seriousness, to tackle this issue and with varying results. (2) But what about the State that started slavery and launched the colonial adventures and was everywhere in Africa, America and Asia?

There have been discussions on restitution of African art in Portugal too but not perhaps to the same extent as in France or Germany. Paradoxically. the issue came more quickly before the Portuguese Parliament in Lisbon. Some consider the discussions on the Sarr-Savoy report as having been imported from outside even though Portugal is in the European Union and thus subject to all the currents in that territorial and cultural space. (4)


Commemorative Head of Oba, Benin, Nigeria, now in Sociedade da Geografia, Lisbon, Portugal.

Joacine Katar Moreira and her party Livre brought a proposal to return the artefacts and objects belonging to former colonies that are now in Portuguese museums.(5) The proposal Descolonização de Conhecemento was roundly rejected by the Parliament, with all parties except the Left Block (Bloc de Esquerda) and PAN People-Animals-Nature (Pessoas-Animais-Natureza) with the Communist Party (Partido Communista Portuguese) abstaining.

We should observe that the party of Joacine Moreira, who was a co-founder of the party Livre, and its only representative in parliament since October 2019 withdrew its support for her on 4 January 2020 and is thus no longer represented there and Moreira is without support of the party. The governing socialist party, led by Prime Minister Antonio Costa whose father came from Goa, also voted against restitution.


Joacine Katar Moreira Member of Parliament, making a presentation in Portuguese Parliament, Lisbon.

The proposal of Joacine Moreira was to return cultural property or patrimony of former colonies to their countries of origin in order to decolonize State museums and monuments. Under the proposal, the patrimony of the former colonies now in Portuguese museums and national archives would be identified, reclaimed and restituted to their countries of origin by an amendment of the State Budget for 2020 as proposed by the member of parliament. The list of the objects to be restituted would be the task of a working group composed of museologists, curators and research scholars-historians, art historians and anti-racists activists.


Senufo feminine kpelye mask, Côte d’Ivoire Museu de Etnologia, Lisboa.

According to the proposal, the objective of the working group would be to provide didactic guidelines for recontextualizing museum collections and monuments so as to stimulate a critical vision of the colonial slavery past in the light of most recent academic researches. Given the colonial past of Portugal, this would be another opportunity for the country to choose to be part of a movement that fights for historical justice and at the same time corresponds to the needs and challenges of our times. The extreme right-wing party, CHEGA, (it is enough) through its leader André Ventura, in social media, proposed that Joacine Moreira should be returned to her country of origin, Guiné-Bissau. Portugal, according to Ventura would be peaceful if Moreira were deported. The leader of the CDS(Christian Democratic Socialist) declared there were no Joacines in his party whilst Livre, former party of Joacine, defended her against racist and sexist attacks. The Bloco de Esquerda condemned the racists attacks on the parliamentarian. The President of Parliament, Assembleia da Républica Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues condemned the xenophobic declarations of Chega as deserving the most vehement condemnation. The Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, of Angolan origin, also condemned the xenophobic declarations of André Ventura, the right-wing leader of CHEGA.


Yauré, Cote d’Ivoire, anthropo-zoomorph mask, Museu de Etnologia,Lisbon.

The total rejection of the proposal for restitution and the creation of a working group on the issue clearly shows that Portugal is not yet ready even to consider seriously the issue. Explanations for the Portuguese attitude are not too far to seek. Portugal was the first European country to start journeys of discoveries to Africa, Asia ,and America and started slavery and colonization. Portugal was also the last colonial power to accept the idea of independence for its colonies. For years, the United Nations criticised Portugal for its racist administration of its colonies which it even denied were colonies and declared that those territories in Africa- Angola, Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe were part of metropolitan Portugal. These African countries only gained independence in 1975 after bloody wars of liberation under leaders such as Amilcar Cabral, Agostinho Neto and Samora Machel (who succeeded Eduardo Mondlane after his assassination, allegedly by Portuguese through letter bomb.).



Padrão dos Descobrimentos,Monument of the Discoveries,Lisbon.

The Portuguese always denied that there was racism in their colonies and like the Brazilians, still deny vehemently any racial discrimination in their country even though economic and social statistics of the employment, housing and education of the inhabitants of their towns confirm a contrary image. (5)They tend to regard their colonial history, dominated by the narrative of the courageous and heroic adventures of the journeys of discovery, as a benevolent enterprise and are hence angry at any suggestion that their intrusion into Africa, America and Asia was not necessarily seen as a blessing by those whom they violently attacked, conquered, killed and whose land and property they seized in their hunger for supremacy. How can a State subjugate African peoples for centuries, colonise them, fight against the African movements of liberation for years and still assert it practices no racial discrimination?

Racism in Portuguese football is rampant and as we write the media in Portugal and elsewhere present articles on the scandalous scene of racism when an African player, was subjected to racist taunts and insults that resulted in his abandoning the match. The referee gave a yellow card to the offended Malian player Moussa Marega! Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of the National Assembly, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, Prime Minister António Costa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Santos Silva State Secretary for Youth and Sport, Joao Paulo Rebelo and the Left Bloc leader, Catarina Martins, as well as all political parties, except CHEGA condemned this incident of racism. The leader of the extreme right, André Ventura, reacted cynically by declaring’ we are all racists.’ Can one still assert there is no racism in Portugal? (6)


Mother and children, Luba, Democratic Republic of Congo,( Zaire),Museu CarlosMachado,Ponta Delgada,Açores,Portugal.

Many still do not accept that certain cultural objects may have been stolen from Africa even though their museums, especially the Museu da Sociedade da Geografia ,Lisbon, Museu de Etnologia, in Lisbon are full of African artefacts. Many Portuguese see the colonial enterprise through the prism of the glorious adventures of the heroic discoverers for whom it was recently proposed in the Lisbon City Council to establish a museum of the Discoveries (Museu dos Descobrimentos). As the Parliamentarian Joacine Katar Moreira has recently stated there are more than enough monuments in Lisbon and elsewhere honouring the discoverers: “It would only reinforce Portuguese colonial ideology, which portrays that period as heroic and simply glosses over the glaring issues of slavery, mass killings and other abuses […] There are already so many statues and monuments paying homage to that moment in history. We don’t need another one, which, like the others, would be an instrument for stroking national self-esteem.” (7)

Dr.Joacine Katar Moreira has been criticised by many. I found the criticism by Dr. Maria Isabel Roque interesting although largely misplaced and exaggerated. (9) Her criticism is prefaced by a statement that the proposal presented in parliament for Decolonization of Culture ‘’did not contain anything new that would not be assumed as inevitable reflection following from concerted actions to argue that the political and institutional decolonization of the territories must be followed now, decades after their independence, by decolonization of knowledge and culture by an effective decolonization of western societies.’’(8)

Must presentation of a proposal for decolonization of culture, including museum objects, that has been pending since political independence contain something new? If others have chosen not to tackle the problem is that the fault of Joacine Moreira that there is nothing new to add to the old problem?


Mask mwana-pwo,Chokwe, Lunda Sul Province ,Angola, now in Museu Nacional de Etnologia, Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Roque criticises Dr. Moreira of ‘intellectual pretentions’ in her introduction of concepts that are not well defined such as’ decolonization of knowledge and imagination’ or ‘systems of hierarchies and structural inequalities and putting on’ the same level maters that are distinct but related such as questions of representativity, fighting stereotypes and clichés’ and restitution of’ works of art or objects’. Does Roque expect a proposal to parliament to contain very precise definitions and concepts rather than let parliament have the liberty to state what it wants to achieve? We believe one should not confuse a proposal to parliament with an academic treatise.


Saltcellar, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria, now in Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga ,Lisbon, Portugal.

Roque adds that the form as well as the content of the project are vague and incomplete especially since Joacine Moreira also attended a seminar,’ Descolonizar os museus;isto na práctica? As políticas do Tropenmuseum Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam) and a reflection on the Portuguese cases ,organized by Acesso Cultura, in Lisbon on 23 March 2019, where the discussion showed the complexity of decolonization. Again, the reference to Dr. Moreira having been present at a seminar or meeting where the complexities of decolonization were discussed is entirely irrelevant. The Livre member of Parliament was not presenting the results of a seminar to parliament but making a proposal in her own name, as a member of parliament and not representing the seminar. Dr. Moreira (whom everyone calls Joacine) was entirely correct to keep her proposal simple and not complicated with definitions and complications. Parliament is not a university amphitheatre.

Roque further adds that to reduce this process of decolonization to the creation of a multidisciplinary commission and a working group is very simplistic. Also simplistic is to reduce the gamut of disciplines of scientific researchers( history, history of art, post-colonial and decolonial studies),ignoring for example anthropology. Similarly, the list of collections and museums involved are also inconsistent.

It is surely not right to present Dr. Moreira as thinking that decolonization of museums consist mainly in the production of a list of the objects and the patrimony transferred from the former Portuguese colonies and now in the museums and archives. Moreira who has a doctorate in African studies is well aware as everybody else that a list of objects to be restituted must necessarily contain information and explanations about the provenance and histories and how they came to their present places, their uses and significance. Knowledge about the objects and their context of production may all be relevant but not necessarily for restitution which is the objective of Joacine Moreira. Some may require this information for a new discourse on African artefacts in western museums but that is another issue which has led some to extend, as among many in Germany, the notion of provenance research to cover all aspects of the looted African objects, thus providing a strong academic excuse for holding on to the African artefacts for a longer period in Europe whilst Africans wait for the return of their looted artefacts.


Slave Market in Lagos, Portugal, where Africans were sold since 1444. Foto de: Edições Faustino António Martins, Lisboa.

As far as I can tell, the text of Moreira suggested the establishment of a commission of scientific scholars but did not limit the disciplines involved whilst giving examples of disciplines she had in mind. She clearly did not exclude any discipline such as anthropology . Incidentally, Roque may be reminded that she has also omitted a discipline which in matters of restitution is probably more important than anthropology: Law. Restitution, just like decolonization, is a political decision with legal implications. Readers may recall that the French president Macron appointed an art historian, Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr, an economist, to prepare the report of restitution of African artefacts in the French museums. Those two scholars in turn invited many other scholars from different disciplines to make their contributions. So, if the Portuguese Parliament were to appoint a commission, nothing will prevent the invitation of scholars from other disciplines to make their contribution. This is what I believe Dr. Moreira had in mind and did not need to mention all disciplines that could be relevant in her proposal to the Portuguese Parliament.

We were very happy to find an article by Visão, a leading Portuguese magazine, entitled, Processo de devolução em curso, Ongoing process of return. I was happy that despite all negative comments from various quarters that have reason to hate the return of looted artefacts, Visão has also observed that there is in Europe an ongoing process of restitution of looted African artefacts to their rightful owners. The article showed images of Nefertiti, the Axum obelisk, Parthenon Marbles, the Stone Cross returned by Germany to Namibia, and a Dahomean (Benin Republic) stool from Musée du Quai Branly but no image of African artefacts in Portuguese museums, only objects of other European museums. Why? Are there no looted African artefacts in Portuguese museums? If the article raises the question whether articles in Portuguese museums will one day be taking the return route, then it is implied that there are some of these articles in Portugal. So why will journalists interested in the subject not show us a few examples? Or did they have the difficulty, which I have also experienced, in trying to find these objects. One has an impression that there is a definite will not to show those objects. We once went to a museum in Lisbon looking for Africa objects and were told we would have to contact the director who was not there; he was the only one who could show us those objects. We lost interest. It reminded us of similar inquiry we made about Asante gold in London and were told we would have to write to the director of the museum.

We also did not see much of classical African artefacts on the homepages of the museums. The Museu Nacional de Etnologia, National Museum of Ethnology, has a catalogue of an exhibition that it organized jointly in 2000 with the Museum of African Art, New York, entitled, In the Presence of Spirits. I had seen some of the objects on a visit to the Museu Nacional de Etnologia in Lisbon. Most of the objects there impressed me as being of recent manufacture and could have been acquired recently. So where are the old African artefacts? Or did the Portuguese not collect any of these in the many centuries they were in Africa? So, where are they? We suggest Visão or some other Portuguese media does a short research on these artefacts showing us where they are to be found, their origins and date of acquisition.

An interesting article in Público by Lucinda Canelas, Museu Nacional de Etnologia,um caso à parte suggests that the Museu Nacional that opened in 1975, is an exception to the general rule in other countries where you find that the ethnology museums contain looted artefacts from the colonies. The museum in Lisbon, established rather late in 1975, contains mostly objects brought from the field by Portuguese ethnologists who paid for them. The director of the museum admits there may be a few objects without clear evidence of their purchase but that objects must be examined case by case. (9)

Whilst admitting the possibility that the Museu Nacional de Etnografia may be holding only artefacts bought by researchers in the field, the more important question for us is what African artefacts existed in Portugal before this date? Are they now in the Sociedade da Geografia or other institutions or in private possession? We would not like to raise the hypothesis that Portugal, unlike Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, and Holland, did not collect any African artefacts before 1975 and thereby ,establish again another Lusitanian exceptionality to the general practice of all European colonialist powers to loot or collect African art treasures.

The mythology woven by Luis Camões around the discovery journeys in his Luisiadas has not lost its hold on the Portuguese mind as the mythology is taught to Portuguese schoolchildren whose vision and perspectives on the discovery and colonial enterprise are grounded on such powerful narratives. There were discussions recently to erect a new statue in honour of the discoveries at a time when the rest of world, everywhere is discussing the return of looted artefacts. (10)The Portuguese seem to be keeping a different time.

The great national poet of Portugal who actually spent an important part of his childhood in South Africa, Fernando Pessoa, declared in his famous nationalistic text, which continued in the same heroic glorification of the discoveries adventures, Mensagem, that the sea is Portuguese , Ó mar salgado, quanto do teu sal São lágrimas de Portugal!- Oh salty sea, how much of your salt Are tears of Portugal! (11)

The great democratic revolution of April 1974 in Portugal does not seem to have changed the opinions of some Portuguese towards colonialism. It should be recalled that the April 25 revolution had its origins in Africa where the African liberation movements of PAIGC, MPLA and FRELIMO, through their genial military strategy coordination broke the back of the Estado Novo that could no longer continue the costly and brutal colonial wars. Portugal, abandoned by her traditional allies, Great Britain and Unites States, and under constant criticism from the United Nations , was not in a position to continue in the same direction the costly war of subjugation. (12) It is no accident that most of the influential military who carried out the revolution in Lisbon had served in Africa where they came into contact with liberation ideas of Cabral and Neto. The plans for the military coup were also made in the colonial territories.

After having read many articles in which there was no mention or image of the classical African art in Portugal and having seen the Visão article on the restitution debate in which there was also no such image, I was left with the impression that there were no classical African objects in Portugal, an impression reinforced by looking at the catalogue of the Museu Nacional de Etnologia, entitled, In the Presence of Spirits which depicted mostly objects of recent fabrication. In the foreword of the catalogue, it is written that ‘The exhibit once again reveals the many different faces of Africa’s artistic heritage, which never ceases to amaze and delight us.’(13) I still could not believe that Portugal did not have any of the classical African art pieces that are much sought after by Westerners and for which wars and other violent incursions had been made in the colonial period.

I checked all references and came across the catalogue of an exhibition on African art organized in 1985 by the Museu Nacional de Etnologia entitled Escultura Africana em Portugal. (14)I saw to my great relief, the classical African artefacts that I had expected to see in the Museu Nacional in Lisbon. I learnt also that the Portuguese, as one expected, had been collecting African art since the 15th century. The works displayed in the 1985 exhibition came from the following institutions:

-Museu e Laboratório Anthropológico da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Coimbra;

-Museu do Instituto de Antropologia Dr.Mendes Correia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Porto;

-Museua Nacional de Arte Antiga,Lisboa;

-Museu Nacional de Arqueológia e Etnologia,Lisboa;

-Museu Etnográafico do Ultramar,da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa;

-Museu Municipal Dr Santos Rocha,Figueria da Foz;

-Casa Museu Teixeira Lopes,Vila Nova de Gaia;

- Museu Arqueológico e Lapidar do Infante D.Henrique,Faro;

- Museu de Ovar;

-Museu Carlos Machado,de Ponta Delgado.

These institutions should be able to show us more of those works.

Recent debates on restitution show that there are many critical voices in Portugal that are in tune with developments elsewhere in Europe and would want Portugal to make the turn towards decolonization of the museums. Some writers who may not necessarily support the idea of general restitution nevertheless recognize the need to establish at least a list of the objects that could be considered for restitution.

António Pinto Ribeiro, a researcher from the Centre of Social Studies, University of Coimbra, has stated that Portugal has ‘serious problem’

for there are no lists of works of art that could be reclaimed by the former colonies from the museums or archives. Most of the works are in depots are not exhibited. The numbers could be 10,000,50,000 or 80,000. Many of the museum directors themselves do not know how many such artefacts there are. The former curator of the Fundaçao Gulbenkian told the Agência Luso whilst urging that this should be a priority task of future governments. Sousa Ribeiro, also a researcher from University of Coimbra also stated there was urgency to establish an inventory of colonial objects in Portuguese museums and where it is proved there was looting, the objects should be restituted. (15)

A series of articles by Lucinda Canelas on recent debates in Portugal on artefacts gives us the assurance that there are many persons who see the evolution of the process with sympathy and also hope that in the end common sense will prevail over the traditional nationalistic position which seeks to ignore slavery, racism and violence of colonial hegemony.

In her article, Antes de devolver património há que admitir o erro da colonização she discusses the reception of the Sarr-Savoy report in other European States and discusses why the debate is late in Portugal. She also interviewed some museum directors who are very reserved towards the movement for restitution whilst others are like Pinto Ribero who states that Portugal is much behind in this debate:

‘Here we are discussing whether there should be a museum on the Discoveries, a discussion that belongs to XIX century and to a literary committee We are 100 years behind this question which is divisive…’(16)

But what should one think of the cynical article of the Portuguese president of ICOM-Europe, Luis Raposo, entitled, Legitimate and intolerable in the restitution "to the origin" of museum collections? Extracts from the text show clearly the intention of the President of ICOM-Europe to throw opprobrium on the whole concept of restitution by dragging the notion to absurdity and questioning the legitimacy of claimants to make demands by his linking the process to doubtful cases:

‘There is a claim for everything. And it is also mainly a question of countries, rather than peoples. Chile, for example, claimed from the British Museum the return of the fossil remains of a mammal from Patagonia extinct 10,000 years ago, collected in the 19th century. It will not be long before the Galapagos tortoises, collected by Darwin, are also claimed. And then his notebooks, which will be said, well, to constitute contextual elements indispensable to the full appreciation of them.

Putting things on this foot, everything is clear and all non-caveman spirits should agree. But then why do they insist on complicating? Why do they insist on putting rocks in the way? In some cases, they draw attention to the ambiguity of "origins". Why cannot countries designed by their colonial metropolises, and themselves profoundly colonial in the internal relationship between elites of European descent and indigenous peoples, claim such status? In other cases, they doubt the allegations of belonging. Why cannot current Umatilla activists claim to be descendants of a skeleton 8 or 9,000 years old unearthed by archaeologists in Kennewick?

Then come every case of affective attachment from countries and, above all, people to objects and collections that have been relocated to museums both internally and abroad. But here the criteria of evaluation must be very severe, and there is no reason to treat colonial relations differently, from war, from imperial domination in general, or even from the mere commerce of antiquities, made in the light of the legality of each epoch. The most classic example is that of the Parthenon Friezes: although legally obtained, they must be returned to Greece, because they are national emblems and there are adequate conditions, even ideal, for their presentation near to the place of origin.’(17)

In most of his writings, the reader gets the impression that Luis Raposo is at pains to present fairly reasonable arguments for both sides but on the restitution debate, the President of the ICOM-Europe fails lamentably and reveals his lack of objectivity, his lack of understanding of the nature of African demands for restitution and the nature of colonialism. This is revealed by his statement that if the option of the issue of restitution was an irrational movement of deletion of memory in every local of destiny, then it would be equally justifiable to return to the former colonies all their objects that exist in colonial metropolitan cities; equally justifiable would then be to return to the former colonial powers all that they left in the former colonies. (18) This is a surprising statement from someone writing on the current restitution debate. First of all, the current debate is not about returning all colonial objects that are in the former colonial capitals. This an unreasonable extension of the debate that distorts the true nature and aim of the African claimants. We are only concerned for the time being with African cultural property that has been looted or removed under unclarified circumstances during the colonial era. That was also all that was considered in the Sarr-Savoy report. We are not dealing here with objects other than cultural property. We are not here seeking compensation for slave and forced labour, gold, diamonds and other wealth stolen or extracted from the colonies that do not normally qualify as cultural property They have to be treated separately. Even for cultural property, the demand is for objects that are important or considered as needed for explaining or continuing culture or history as defined by the particular African government that would enable African youth to understand and appreciate their own culture. African youth, like European youth have a right to the culture of their societies. Given the extent of colonial robbery, many African countries would be embarrassed by the amount of materials to be returned. Portugal, like many European States has not yet prepared even an inventory of African artefacts transferred to its territory that may be reclaimed by the former colonies. They have had these objects for hundreds of years and have not even bothered to make inventories. They seem keener in telling us that they would not return our stolen treasures.


Commemorative head,Benin,Nigeria,Museu da Sociedade de Geografia,


The idea that African States would have to return European objects on their territory shows that Raposo, like many Western scholars, does not understand the nature of the exploitative and oppressive colonial State. No African State has had European colonies which it ruled for decades and could exploit and use as it wanted in the face of helpless Europeans and refused to return looted European cultural objects. There just exists no parallel to the known European raids into African communities and peoples that are sometimes called scientific field work. Readers should consult Michel Leiris Afrique fantôme. (19) We know of no European cultural artefacts looted by an African State that refuses to return them. Let our European counterparts provide us examples. The inherent structural violence of European colonies in Africa seem to escape many contemporary Westerners despite all the violence, torture, extinction wars and massacres and genocides some write as if the African communities were on equal footing with the colonial masters and could be treated as equal partners in a common project. They forget conveniently that the colonial masters were not invited by the African peoples but imposed themselves on countries they entered without invitation or visa.

Whatever one may think of the proposal by Dr. Joacine Katar Morera, she has correctly and fully placed the Portuguese State and its parliament before their historical responsibility and duty to restitute looted African objects or objects acquired under dubious circumstances in Portuguese museums and collections. Whether the political parties and the government take up this challenge, set up a commission to study the issues and make necessary and relevant concrete recommendations as was done by the French President Macron, resulting in the Sarr-Savoy report, is a matter for the future. (20)

The Portuguese who were the first to start slavery, colonial adventures and lootings, must not necessarily be the last to decolonise their museums by returning African artefacts looted during the colonial period. Friends of Portugal expect Portugal to act in the libertarian spirit of 25 April 1974 and not fall back onto the fascist, obscurantist colonialist ideology of the Estado Novo based on racism in dealing with colonial injustice.

‘…and with respect to exotic collections, studying the Museu Nacional de Etnologia founded in Lisbon at the end of the 1950s,can illuminate significant characteristics of Portuguese anthropology. This museum’s collections came from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa, Asia and America; and there is also a very important Portuguese ethnographic collection. The museum was designated the Museu do Ultramar in the 1950s and is, to a certain extent, a colonial product. Hence the study of its collections could provide a useful way of understanding Portuguese colonial policy. A number of questions could be elucidated by studying the history of the museum. These include the role played by colonial administrators and governors in collecting objects for the museum; and how to explain Portuguese indifference to ethnographic collections, when compared with other major colonial powers. Portugal did not have a national ethnographic museum. In sum, the history of the collections of the Museu Nacional de Etnologia can provide useful tools for illuminating Portuguese colonial history, as well as the ‘culture of colonialism’. Anthropologists in general, regardless of their national contexts, have been very reluctant to admit the history of their discipline; museums, and ethnographic museums in particular, rarely take into account the history of their collections.’

Nélia Dias.(21)

Kwame Opoku.


1. Visão, No1408, 13/2 to 19/2/2020. p.86.

2. K. Opoku, Germany's Answer to Macron on Restitution of African Artefacts › news › germanys-answer-to-macron-on-res...

Will Belgium Hear the Call for Restitution of Looted African . › news › will-belgium-hear-the-call-for-restit...

Are Dutch Museums Really Moving Ahead in Restitution Of › news › are-dutch-museums-really-moving-... › news › uk-rejection-of-restitution-of-artefa...

UK Rejection of Restitution of Artefacts - Modern Ghana

3. The official Portuguese homepage describes the tower as follows: The Tower of Belém is a cultural reference, a symbol of the specificity of Portugal at the time, including its privileged exchange with other cultures and civilisations. As a protector of Portuguese individuality and universality, the tower saw its role confirmed in 1983 when it was classified by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity". › ...

Belém Tower - Torre de Belém

4. › post › 2019/01/15 › a-questã...“às origens” e o Relatório Sarr-Savoy - . › internacional › 2020-01-30-Os-paises...

Os países onde a restituição de património está em ... - Expresso › culturaipsilon › noticia › preciso-...É preciso devolver património, mas antes há que admitir o .. › deputada-joacine-katar-moreira-nã...Deputada Joacine Katar Moreira não desiste da ‘’ descolonizacao do conhecimento’’

... - DW

‘’o que estas iniciativas sugerem é que comece a existir uma discussão institucional, política, em relação a essas áreas e que se inicie por constituição de determinadas equipas para ajudar a nacionalizar e a fomentar esta discussão, igualmente a criação de uma equipa que também inventariar todo o património relacionado com as antigas colónias. Isto não significa necessariamente que este inventário dê origem à devolução imediata de todas as obras. É uma iniciativa que tem por objetivos identificar, inventariar, todas as obras que poderão eventualmente virem a ser reclamadas. Mas os antigos países colonizados necessitariam de solicitar a restituição de determinadas obras.’

5. The literature on racism in Portugal and its colonial administration is enormous. We mention here just a few:

Francisco Bethencourt and Adrian Pearce (Eds.) Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World, British Academy-Oxford University Press, 2012,

6. Insultos a Marega abrem a discussão sobre o racismo no ... › edicao-do-dia › 17-fev-2020 › insultos-a-marega-abrem...

Inédito no futebol português. Marega abandonou o jogo devido › desportos › inedito-no-futebol-portugues-marega-aband...

Marega se revolta com ofensas racistas, abandona jogo do ... › futebol › noticia › mare...

Shame': Porto striker Marega leaves pitch after racist abuse ... › news › 2020/02 › porto-striker-marega-leaves-p...

Teammates Appear to Stop Marega Leaving After Racist Abuse › aponline › sports › soccer › ap-soc-portugal-racism

Racism in Portugal: Marega leaves the pitch after receiving ... › football › international-football › 2020/02/16

The report of Portugal to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(CERD) dated 15 November 2015 clearly established Portugal’s admission that there is racial discrimination and reports on the efforts made by the country to combat racial discrimination. The report even refers to racial discrimination in sports.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD/C/PRT/15-17)

Concluding observation No. 13: “The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party take appropriate special measures for vulnerable groups including Ciganos, Roma and people of African descent in line with its general recommendation No. 32 (2009) on the meaning and scope of special measures in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, in cases where direct or indirect discrimination affects vulnerable groups disproportionately as well as in accordance with its general recommendations No. 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma and No. 34 (2011) on racial discrimination against people of African descent”.

Concluding observation Nos. 14 and 29: “The Committee urges the State party to take effective measures to prevent and prosecute manifestations of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. It recommends that the State party condemn racist and xenophobic speech by politicians and promote tolerance and diversity, including in sport.”

7. Lisbon museum plan stirs debate over Portugal's colonial past › world › sep › lisbon-museum-plan-stirs-deba...

8. › ...

Descolonizar não é (só) devolver –

Maria Isabel Roque


10.There has been recent proposal to erect a new museum in Lisboa honouring the explorers, which has been criticised from many sides and the descendants of Africans in Lisboa have proposed that a monument be erected in Lisbon in the city centre next to Praça do Comercio not far from where the slave ships actually took off, to honour of those who lost their lives during the nefarious transatlantic slave trade initiated by Portugal and then followed by practically all European States. Lisbon museum plan stirs debate over Portugal's colonial past › world › sep › lisbon-museum-plan-stirs-deba

11. Fernando Pessoa, Ó mar salgado, quanto do teu sal São lágrimas de Portugal!- Oh, salty sea, how much of your salt Are tears of Portugal!

The nationalistic tone of the poem, its peremptory possession of the sea as if it were made for the Portuguese alone, makes it interesting and worthwhile to read for the understanding the role of the sea in the Portuguese imagination and culture. Pessoa is enumerating the sacrifices that the Portuguese made in their quest to sail the ocean and discover other lands. The sacrifices he says a worthwhile for people with great spirits. A claim for a special relationship with sea is not far and implies a justification for the discoveries and the subsequent slavery and colonization flowing from the glorious adventures of the great men.

12. Bruno Cardoso Reis Portugal and the UN: A Rogue State Resisting the Norm of Decolonization (1956-1974 12. The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New › sarr_savoy_en

13. In the Presence of Spirits, Museum of African Art, New York, Snoeck Museum for African Art, New York,Snoek-Ducaju,2000,p.10.

14. Escultura Africana em Portugal, Instuto de Investigação Cientifica Tropical,Museu de Etnologica,Liscoa,1985.

15. Em Portugal "não há listagens" de obras de arte ... - SIC Notícias › cultura › 2018-11-23-Em-Portugal

16. Lucinda Canelas, É preciso devolver património, mas antes há que admitir o › culturaipsilon › noticia › preciso-

Antes de devolver património há que admitir o erro da ... › 21838_Publico-20181207S e

See also › mundo › a-pergunta-entala.

A pergunta “entalada” de Amílcar Xavier – Novafrica

17. Luis Raposo,

Legitimate and intolerable in the restitution "to the origin" of ... This English translation was found at the ICOM-Europa site.

Portuguese original version available at:

18. ‘Mas se a opção societária for a da devolução generalizada e irrestrita, bom, então deve colocar-se a questão de saber devolver o quê, a quem e em que direcções. Se a opção for um movimento irracional de apagamento da memória em cada local de destino, tanto se justifica devolver às antigas colónias tudo o que delas possa existir nas metrópoles coloniais como inversamente se justifica devolver às ditas metrópoles aquilo que elas lá foram deixando’.

Devolver património, sim, não, talvez… Mas devolver o quê e a quem?

Luís Raposo | Arqueólogo; presidente do ICOM Europa ... › autor › luis-raposo

19. Michel Leiris. Afrique fantôme,1953, Gallimard. Anyone interested in the looting of African cultural artefacts and their restitution should read this important informative book by the French scholar who participated himself in the notorious French Dakar-Djibouti Expedition that robbed African artefacts from Dakar to Djibouti and brought back some 3000 artefacts to France that were first deposited im Musée de l’Homme and Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie and later transferred to Musée Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac.

The Portuguese version is entitled A África Fantasma, 2007 published by Cosac Naify, Sao Paulo, Brasil.

The Spanish edition is entitled: El África fantasmal, by Tomás Fernández AZ and Beatriz Eibar Barrens, 2007, Ed. Pre-Text’s. The Italian edition is entitled, L’ Africa fantasma by Aldo Pasquali, Rizzoli Editore,1984. The German translation of the French original, Afrique fantôme is entitled, Michel Leiris, Phantom Afrika - Tagebuch einer Expedition von Dakar nach Djibouti 1931-1933, Band 1 und Band II, 1980, Syndikat Autoren-und Verlagsgesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main. The Portuguese version is entitled A África Fantasma, 2007,published by Cosac Naify, Sao Paulo, Brasil.

The Spanish edition is entitled: El África fantasmal, by Tomás Fernández AZ and Beatriz Eibar Barrens, 2007, Ed. Pre-Text’s. The Italian edition is entitled, L’ Africa fantasma by Aldo Pasquali, Rizzoli Editore,1984.

20. Savoy-Sarr Report on African Art Restitution: A Summary › the-savoy-sarr-report-for-president-macro... K. Opoku, Further Comments on Sarr-Savoy Report On › news › further-comments-on-sarr-savoy-re...


Royal couple,representing Chibinda Ilunga and Lweji,Chokwe, Lunda Sul Province, Angola,now in Museo de Etnologia, Lisbon,Portugal.

21. Nélia Dias, Does anthropology need museums?' Teaching ethnographic museology in Portugal, Thirty Years Later, M. Bouquet (Ed), Academic Anthropology and the Museum: Back to the Future, Berghahn Books, New York,Oxford,pp.102-103.