A Tourism Triumph as Ghana’s Gold Crown Jewels are returned
In the late 19th century, sacred Asanteman palace regalia were taken by British soldiers in Kumasi through wars and conflicts. 150 years on, some of these items are to return back to the Asante King, as a way to forge a cultural relationship.
The Uk’s British Museum boasts of housing cultures of the world, which it freely displays to audiences at the expense of the original owners. As it stands the UK constantly ignores the recall of cultural artefacts by countries of origin while securely allowing its placeholder museums to function as holiday hot spots and tourist attraction sites with stolen goods. In fact, looking at the country’s 237.1 Billion GDP contributions from travel and tourism in 2022 alone, no mistake would be made attributing part of this growth to the influence of museums and continental cultures hanging over in the UK, while Ghana on the other hand can only boast of 3.4 billion USD contribution from travel and tourism. (statista.com)
Tourism in Ghana has been on the steady rise since the government strategically implemented the beyond the return festivities – inviting black diasporans especially, to enjoy an authentic Ghanaian culture every december. Borne out of this initiative are other bigger outcomes that have grown Ghana’s popularity outside – nightlife, Afrochella and Afronation festivities, real estate, landmarks, art and culture. Notable amongst these mentions is the sale of Ghana’s slavery tourism. And as expected, the return of many diasporans to Ghana stems from their desire to reconnect and form a better understanding of slavery many years on.
Ghana’s bid to accept its “loaned ” crown jewels back from the British Museum, and Victoria & Albert Museum did spark controversy about the British’s failure to return the country’s valuable items, and the blatant disregard towards its sacred culture. However, according to correspondents and statements from the press release, the initiated return of the Asanteman crown jewels is with the Asantehene and not Ghana. Regardless, his role as king and a ceremonial arm of the country must extend that courtesy to the nation in a bid to grow its tourism. A cultural rebranding should be negotiated locally amongst smaller independent museums, contemporary artistes, and social developers. As culture is the main proponent of tourism in Ghana, growing its low functional museums with unique pieces from historical and contemporary art will improve the state of art consumption and appreciation in the country.
As a valuable currency and asset culture and art is, to a country’s exposure, negotiators and national entities must work tirelessly to overturn the supposed loan deal, and recapitalize on its lost history.