2015 article by the BBC quotes the UK’s Natural History Museum saying it may have in its collection some human remains from Zimbabwe. The museum is said to hold as many as 20,000 human remains.

The return of artifacts and human remains from Europe to Africa has been in the limelight recently since the 2018 release of the French government-commissioned report by Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr and French historian Bénédicte Savoy. In November, France returned about 26 artifacts looted from Benin while in 2020, the Free University of Brussels (ULB) said it was returning human skulls taken to Belgium from the Congo during the colonial period.

The growing calls for the UK and other European countries such as Belgium and France to return African artifacts and remains of human remain trophies, this year forced the setting up of a cross-party British parliamentary group to discuss it and map a way forward.

“This is about starting a discussion and educating people. We’d hope to get to the stage of proposing legislation,” Bell Ribeiro-Addy, an MP and chair of the group, was quoted saying.

For the late Mugabe, a staunch critic of Britain, “keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a national history museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism, and human insensitivity.”

As for Nyikadzino, the return of the remains and artifacts to Zimbabwe marks a major step forward. He says “Our heroes are in British museums and we need to have their remains repatriated, give them decent burials, their names immortalized and be part of our historical memorabilia. This is one of the major steps towards decoloniality as Zimbabwe embarks on building the Museum of African Liberation.”

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