Media Toolkits for media professionals – Fon’s visit to Germany

As we get closer to the visit of the Fon starting this Saturday 12,Nov at the Humboldt Forum, SHF has put together important information to help media professionals produce great multimedia pieces.

Summary:

On June 27, 2022, one of Germany’s most powerful foundations and one of the world’s largest cultural institutions, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz agreed to return the queen mother statue of Ngonnso back to Cameroon after an intensive campaign led by the 31 years old Njobati Sylvie, founder of Sysy House of Fame and Restitution advocate. This has now gone into history as the first-ever activist-led restitution success. With the physical return still pending, there is a strategic build on this success to request the return of 27 Royal objects from Nso in the Linden Museum in Stuttgart looted alongside the Ngonnso to be returned same time as Ngonnso, as these objects play complementary roles in the tradition of Nso people. After initiating contacts with the Linden Museum in November of 2021, It was until August 2022, that the first concrete dialogue was initiated and after a couple of working sessions, there has now been an official request of 27 “Objects” from Nso looted under clear violent and unethical circumstances to Linden museum and ownership stakeholders pending decision. 

Purpose:

The overarching purpose of the Fon (King)’s visit to Germany is further dialogues on the return of heritage from Nso in Germany in colonial context.

Specific objectives

  • To meet with different decision making stakeholders to negotiate the return of the 27 Royal “Objects” found at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart.
  • To see Ngonnso for the first time ever, after almost 30 years of requesting genuine dialogue and restitution  
  • To meet with relevant stakeholders to enhance collaboration and set the pathway for the return of other Nso objects in other institutions.

Saturday Programme for the Humboldt Forum.

The Fon shall arrive at 11:05am at the airport where he shall have a warm welcome from Nso people in Europe at the airport with traditional dances in colourful traditional wears  and other heart warming activities.

At 13:00, together with the people, they shall move to the Humboldt Forum where they shall visit the West Afrikan collection where other objects from Nso are on exhibition till 2;30 pm.

From 14:30, the Fon shall go to the private space where Ngonnso has now been taken to, to have a moment with her. Then the rest of the people shall go to the hall in groups of 10 to see Ngonnso in her private place as we prepare to return.

15:30 -16:30 

There shall be a reception in the hall with the guest and well wishers and an official statement from the Fon and representative.

Programme for Stuttgart

Visit to Stuttgart is scheduled for Thursday 17th November. Programme will be updated here before the 9th of november

Key messaging:

  • The Nso Fondom (Kingdom) has the right to her cultural heritage.
  • Nso community is a highly traditional community and objects play a vital role in the wellbeing of the people.
  • Nso people communicate with objects(They talk to objects and objects talk back to them)
  • There has been a clear establishment of violence during colonial times such as vicious murders, torture and executions of kings, Arson and looting. There is also clear evidence of psychological warfare.
  • The German principles for dealing with collections from colonial context makes it clear that institutions keeping objects and human remains collected in circumstances “which is no longer legally and/or ethically justifiable” need to enable their return. And that “Requests for the return of artefacts from colonial contexts are to be processed Promptly.”
  • The final physical process should be funded by German institutions and also German institutions should make sure that they make funding available not just to perpetrators but also to victim (Survivor) communities to address this as well.
  • German institutions should be proactive and take initiatives and initiatives should be taken in a timely manner. There shouldn’t be delay tactics to prolong the process.
  • Restitution is not doing anyone a favour, its our moral responsibility but because it is met with untold resistance, legal instruments should be adopted to enable restitution.
  • For objects in Stuttgart, we are working on objects collected by the military expeditor Houben. There is the argument that the other objects that are about 30, do not have very clear circumstances of violent acquisition. But Glauning and Hitler are well known violent military expeditors. We eventually want all these back.

Other information

Initiator and lead of the journey to Germany: Njobati Sylvie

Management and planning support organisation: Sysy House of Fame

Funder: Open Society Initiative.

Expected outcome:

Stuttgart visit:

To have a clear feedback on when the decision to return of the 27 objects will be made. As per prior discussion, we expect a decision in February 2022 – so more or less to reaffirm this timeline.

To establish cooperation on other objects left.

To work on new timelines for the research and collaborations on other objects for their return.  

Collecting Multimedia content.

Throughout the day of Saturday, journalists can take photographs, videos, quotes and interviews from anyone. There is the exception of the visit in Ngonnso’s private space where only photographs are allowed. There will be no official press event but after the meeting in the hall at the Humboldt forum, we shall have some time to take questions. One on one Q&A sessions are possible. Please send a request to s.kim@sysyhouseoffame.org or you can call our Marc Sebastien +49 15780897429 to schedule.

Relevant links 

Framework and Principles for dealing with collections in colonial context: Detailed document developed by Germany to guide and  support restitution 

Media Articles on Ngonnso 

Cameroonian Pushes for Restitution of Deity – allAfrica.com

Rückkehr der Ngonnso’ nach Kamerun

Sylvie Njobati | Amnesty International

Ngonnso Will Finally Come Home to Cameroon – Atlas Obscura

Germany Is Returning the Ngonnso’ Statue to Cameroon

Aktivistin über koloniales Erbe: „Der Schmerz ist noch präsent“

German Museums Announce a New Wave of Restitutions …

Germany to return stolen Ngonnso’ statue to Cameroon – CNN

Sylvie Njobati : ″Ces objets nous reviennent de droit – DW

Personal reflection of Sylvie after visiting the objects at the Linden Museum: Article in medium

A short paper on some objects in the museum and their importance and functions here

Articles on the visit to Stuttgart

https://www.esslinger-zeitung.de/inhalt.rueckgabegesuch-im-linden-museum-in-stuttgart-aktivistin-aus-kamerun-schockiert-im-museum.e46fe81f-11cd-4a87-b015-0144b8afdb6b.html

First hand report written by the German military expeditor Houben on his activities in Nso (Kumbo) Here 

Videos, Audios,  other supporting documents, are found here

For more information please contact: n.sylvie@sysyhouseoffame.org

Tel: +237 681133400

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As we get closer to the visit of the Fon starting this Saturday 12,Nov at the Humboldt Forum, SHF has put together important information to