Germany returns stolen artefact to Zimbabwe

Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Germany Wednesday returned to Zimbabwe, on "permanent loan," an artefact stolen from the country some 100 years ago during European colonisation of Africa.
The stone carving of a bird, Zimbabwe's national symbol, was handed over to President Robert Mugabe by the German Ambassador Peter Schmit at an elaborate ceremony.
The plinth was stolen from the "Great Zimbabwe" ruins, from which the country derived its name around 1890.
It was taken to Germany, then moved to Russia, and back to Germany in the 1990s.
Mugabe said the return of the artefact symbolised his government's determination to assert national control over the country's resources and heritage, especially land.
His government has controversially driven off thousands of white farmers from their farms, seized from blacks during colonial rule, to resettle landless peasants.
"The Great Zimbabwe birds are our nation's most prized cultural treasures, a symbol of our nation whose meaning defies time and place.
Like our land reform programme, today's ceremony allows us to proudly assert ownership over our national resources and treasures," Mugabe stressed.
He added: "the return of the pedestal of this nation is, therefore, cause for joyous celebration because it fits into our ongoing programme of national identity and restoration.

14 may 2003 18:18:00

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