Zimbabwe Tells Britain: Give Us Our Skulls Back

Robert Mugabe says Brits are keeping human skulls as war trophies
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2015 11:31 AM CDT
Zimbabwe Tells Britain: Give Us Our Skulls Back
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe inspects the guard of honor during a ceremony in Harare, Monday Aug. 10, 2015, honoring fighters who died in a 1970s Bush war against colonialism.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Zimbabwe's president is demanding the return of "decapitated heads" of warriors killed during "the first chimurenga," an uprising against British colonizers at the end of the 19th century, reports the Telegraph. The skulls serve as "war trophies," and keeping them "must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism, and human insensitivity," President Robert Mugabe, 91, said in a speech this week, per the Guardian. He says the skulls are now housed at Britain's Natural History Museum and noted those killed in the uprising included influential spirit mediums; he plans to bury the remains, once returned, across Zimbabwe.

The country certainly seems confident the remains will be swiftly sent home; the state-controlled Herald reports the skulls "will be repatriated soon as authorities from both countries are working out the logistics to conclude the process." British officials say they've been discussing the repatriation since December, however, it isn't clear when a decision will come. "The UK has since invited Zimbabwe to appoint technical experts to meet their museum counterparts in London, in order to discuss some remains of Zimbabwean origin," says the British embassy in Harare. "It is not yet clear whether these remains are related to the events, places, or people referred to in the president's speech." (More Zimbabwe stories.)

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