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Oooooh, squeal like a piggie!

My ancestors were pillaged to bring the Benin bronzes to England. It is white supremacy that keeps them here
Noah Anthony Enahoro

For me, as a descendant of the kingdom’s rulers, repatriation isn’t just diplomatic – it’s personal

So, Benin (no, this is different from where Benin is now, that was back then called Dahomey) was a major slave trading source. So, how much of your money, Noah, do we all get to nick to pay reparations?

19 thoughts on “Oooooh, squeal like a piggie!”

  1. the issue of repatriation isn’t just diplomatic, it’s personal. My great-great-grandfather, HRH Ogbidi Okojie King of Uromi, fought alongside his relative Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, the ruler of the Benin kingdom.

    HRH Oogie Boogie King of Um Bongo should’ve fought harder then, shouldn’t he?

  2. You know all this stuff is going to get given back, and frankly, who gives a shit? Take a cast or 3d laser scan them, make a mould and produce a bronze mask.

    Museums feel like this weird, antiquated thing to me now, that most of them should shut up shop. You can click a button and read about the Benin Bronzes on Wikipedia, so why spend £30 and day of your time going to see them in London? Why take up valuable real estate that could be used for housing, bars, cinemas with a load of old stuff that we could mass manufacture for less.

  3. So…6 generations down, and not in the royal line/direct paternal line, nor any other proof of continuous ancestral nobbery infusion.

    By all rules he’s no more than a commoner by now. He’s not a Nob but a Nobbs.

  4. Y’know, no one’s ever told me who the Benin’ers stole that bronze from. Or is it just the profits of slave trading?

  5. Not so much the profits, the actual payment. It was common enough that slaves were paid for in bronze rods…..

  6. but it was defeated by Nogbaisi and his allies

    Did those allies include Graculus the wise bird and Thor Nogson? Maybe Ivor the Engine was in charge of logistics.

  7. @BoM4
    It depends on why you’re looking at things. If you’re interested in casting bronze, you might go & look at them to see how they’re cast. I used to do this at the V&A jewellery displays. Not so much to look at the pretty sparklies, but how they were made. (And to gloat over the couple of pieces on display I repaired 🙂 ). To do this, one actually has to see the things themselves. Seeing a copy, would only tell you how to make the copy. A photo or even a hologram would be useless. You’d only get the lighting & the angles the photographer chose.
    Depends on how you see museums & art galleries of course. As entertainment or reference depositories for artists & craftsmen. Do you only want the past’s exhibits or future exhibits?

  8. Thanks Tim.

    ‘knowing this is not where they truly belong’. If he really believes that, he’d have to admit that the UK is not where he truly belongs either.

  9. I find museums disappointing. Things demand to be handled but, understandably, it isn’t allowed.

    Art galleries succeed: paintings are made to be looked at and you can just stroll in and look at them. It works.

  10. There used to be considerable animosity between Caribbeans and West Africans. Perhaps they are now making common cause against whitey but this is a marriage of convenience. If I was this guy I would not be boasting about my aristocratic heritage of slave trading.

  11. phillip, I know of an advert in an Estate Agents in Plashet Grove, Upton Park that specified ‘for a Jamaican family only’. From a black Jamaican family.

    Then there was the white woman who did not want to subject another white family to what she had experienced and advertised ‘for a black family only’. All around the same time as Robert Relf but not getting the same exposure for some reason.

  12. V_P: Agree. Stuff like that is of value as a record of human endeavour so we should take the trouble to preserve it properly. I remember visiting the BM & seeing the stuff from Sutton Hoo. The workmanship is exquisite and a valuable record of the skills of Anglo-Saxon craftsmen in that period. The BM can look after them properly, and to my mind that should be the overriding consideration.

    If the Greeks can look after the Elgin Marbles as well as the BM has, and for the future, then I don’t really see why they can’t have them back, as long as they pay what Lord Elgin paid for them in today’s money equivalent. He did actually buy them rather than steal them after all.

    As for the Benin Bronzes, those RSG people in the US have the right idea but for the wrong reasons. They see preservation as a political act (together with adding the political labels) whereas to my mind the Smithsonian has a better claim to them as credible custodians of historical human endeavour.

  13. Noah Anthony Enahoro is upset that his ancestors were killed by hard Brits who have spent many years warring much stronger opponents. Hey noah it’s not our problem your ancestors attacked a British envoy which commenced the inevitable. I mean I’m actually laughing – did they think they would win against the empire? I would have loved to be a fly on the wall watching the guy that made the choice to attack the British envoy! The sun never sets on the empire, tally ho!

  14. If some white adventurer hadn’t nicked the bronzes some black adventurer would. If Benin wants them back, they can pay reparations to the British as well as to the slaves who actually made the bloody things. So Noah is proud of his ancestors having been slavers. The appropriate response is, à la TW, “Fuck off matey.”

    “Most of the plaques and other objects were taken by British forces during the Benin Expedition of 1897 as imperial control was being consolidated in Southern Nigeria.[6] The objects, work of enslaved hands, were taken as an act of retaliation after the massacre of an unarmed party of British envoys and a large number of their African bearers, and the following British expedition put an end to slave trading in Benin.” ~ wiki

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