Earlier this month, the French Senate unanimously voted to return 27 artifacts to Benin and Senegal within a year. The majority of these 27 items were taken from the Abomey palace in present day Benin by French forces during the 19thcentury. This is the first step by France to return items under the Savoy/Sarr report. The report was commissioned after President Macron vowed to return African antiquities to their home countries. The announcement has renewed pressure on other European countries to examine African cultural items that were removed during the colonial period.This is a start, albeit a very small one.
While France is returning 27 artifacts, it is estimated that French cultural institutions hold over 90,000 African artifacts taken during France’s colonial occupation of Africa.