Posted on: February 25, 2024 Posted by: diasporadigital Comments: 0

The African Diaspora Council of Switzerland (ADCS) and a coalition of partners will coordinate the “Africa in Museum” event.

The event will take place on the 12th of March 2024 at Heiliggeistkirche, Spitalgasse 44, 3011 Bern, (just opposite Bern Main Train Station) by 6pm.

Background Information:

Beginning in December 2021, the African Diaspora Council of Switzerland (ADCS) and the African Foundation for Migration & Development (AFMD) initiated a congenial and peaceful process towards researching the presence of African arts in Swiss museums. The approach consists of identifying African artifacts, their provenance, mapping, and eventual restitution. This project was initiated under the auspices of the Forum of Sovereigns and Traditional Leaders of Africa (FSTLA).

This approach also follows the general global trend and public discourse on the diverse African artifacts deposited in museums in the Global North and elsewhere. There were reports in Swiss media underscoring the need for research on provenance and eventual restitution of African artifacts in Switzerland. Indeed, “the development of African youths is particularly threatened by the forfeiture of rights to artistic and cultural heritage. A large part of this cultural heritage is now stored in museums in Europe,” as reported in (Swissinfo, 13.12.2020).

In addition, “decolonization only works if you find all the people involved, bring them to the museum, listen to them, and involve them in the decisions. It is only when they feel that they are part of the project that it is a success” (Swissinfo, 13.12.2020).

In this process, delegations have been sent to several Swiss museums which led to the discovery of other different individual and group initiatives already ongoing in the same direction, such as the Swiss Benin Initiative (SBI). An initiative of a coalition of 8 Swiss museums that conducts research and studies on the provenance of the art collections of the ancient Benin Kingdom of Nigeria. This collaborative research work is carried out in collaboration with their Nigerian colleagues and supported by the governments of both countries. Unfortunately, these ongoing initiatives are not well known and communicated to the larger Swiss public. This public dialogue aims to bring the initiative to a larger public domain.

Objectives and Impact:

The aim of the event during the week against racism, as a side event of the Museumsnacht (Museum Night) in Bern, is primarily to raise awareness about the presence of African artifacts in Swiss museums. Additionally, it aims to highlight ongoing and completed research and studies regarding the origins and significance of these artifacts in their respective communities. The event provides a public platform for the museums and relevant authorities to inform the public about their activities, achievements, opportunities, and any challenges they may face, thereby helping to prevent misinformation in the public sphere. Furthermore, the event aims to promote best practices in the decolonization process. Members of the public will have the opportunity to express their views and ask questions for clarification.

Ultimately, this initiative ensures that the Swiss public is informed with accurate, first-hand information about this commendable project, enabling them to discern against any negative narratives surrounding the subject matter.” The event will feature an art exhibition.

It is organized in the margin of the week against racism parallel to the “Museumsnacht” and the “Festival der Kulturen.” It aims to gather a diverse array of artists and cultural groups in Bern during this week. The event is coordinated by a coalition of interested partners, including the African Diaspora Council of Switzerland (ADCS), Offene Kirche, African Foundation and Development (AFMD), and Ajere African Heritage.

****This Press Release is for informational purposes. Content, including image (s) was provided to Diaspora Digital News by the African Diaspora Council of Switzerland. For more information, please visit: