Africa Museum gets anti-colonial makeover

In the Flemish city of Tervuren, the Royal Museum for Central Africa will re-open this summer after undergoing renovations meant to remove the colonial bias present in the old exhibitions.

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Africa Museum gets anti-colonial makeover - NewsMavens
Black man staring out a window. Burst

Why this story matters:

Young Afropeans are increasingly outspoken about colonial mentalities in Belgium.

In their opinion, white Belgians tend to paternalize their black compatriots, a behavior rooted in the old belief that blacks have lower mental abilities. 

It was probably this new wave of black activism that prompted the Africa Museum in Tervuren to re-think its presentation of Belgian's colonial past. Guido Gryseels, head of the museum, says Belgian society has to listen to black voices.

According to Calvin Soiress Njall, campaigner for greater awareness of post-colonialism in Belgium, the museum's makeover is a small step in the right direction. But still, he looks forward to the day when the museum will have a black director.

Details from the story:

  • The well-known Africa Museum in Tervuren, near Brussels, is reopening soon. The makeover is infrastructural as well intellectual: its approach won't be rooted in colonialism anymore.
  • Liberals, leftists and radicals in Belgium are unanimous in condemning colonialism.
  • A new black generation is speaking out, claims Calvin Soiress Njall. He is campaigning to create a cultural shift in Belgium.
  • According to Soiress Njall, Belgian society is under the assumption that blacks are less intelligent than whites.
  • 'The new generation is different. Our pride is coming back', says Soiress Njall. But there's a long way to go.
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