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When 2019 ends, the media have started an annual tradition of inventory, lists and reflection. The biggest news of the year was possibly Notre-Dame fire in the architectural world and architecture firms. The picture of the burning cathedral roof–an unforgettable sight–is full of TV and computer screens worldwide and has caused an explosion of sorrow, in particular in France, where this building plays a crucial role in the collective consciousness of the country. This was both an architectural and a spiritual disaster. There is no doubt: the inferno ofApril struck France’s very heart.

When 2019 ends, the media have started an annual tradition of inventory, lists and reflection. The biggest news of the year was possibly Notre-Dame fire in the architectural world. The picture of the burning cathedral roof–an unforgettable sight–is full of TV and computer screens worldwide and has caused an explosion of sorrow, in particular in France, where this building plays a crucial role in the collective consciousness of the country. This was both an architectural and a spiritual disaster. There is no doubt: the inferno of April struck France’s very heart.

Most citizens here in Africa saw the case with a degree of nonchalance, even happiness. This should not come as a surprise, for indifference is a response to generation of anguish directed towards European colonialists, particularly Franciscans, Belgians and Britons, who have engineered and maintained a continent of extensive plunder through tribal states for several decades.
The tragic fire of Notre-Dame gives us an opportunity, a valuable historical context, to address France’s cultural heritage in Africa in a wide and long-awaited way. Remember: this legacy remains as traumatic to us every bit because the people of France fire at Notre-Dame. We know how to lose our family, to watch it robbed, to see it burning. I don’t play down or put out the fire in the cathedral in any way. On the contrary: I hope that Notre-Dame will be completely restored and developments in colonial Africa will be taken into account.

In 2017, during a visit to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, French President Emmanuel Macron dedicated himself to return the looted objects of Africa. “I can’t accept that much of the cultural heritage is in France from several African countries,” he said. “Historical theories exist, but no true, permanent and unconditional justifications exist. For European private collections and museums, African heritage can’t only be. The French Government therefore commissioned the restitution report by Savoy and Sarr. Africa should be stressed in Paris, but also in Dakar, in Lagos, in Cotonou.

Yet the study was released a year ago, and no tangible progress towards repatriation and restitution has been made.
I’m pleased to have wealthy French citizens bring together their enormous resources as architect who studied the Cathedral as a student to help rebuild. Notre-Dame, as after it was vandalized in the French Revolution by angry Parisians during the 1790s, would definitely be restored. Unfortunately, a more uncertain future threatens Africa’s stolen cultural heritage. When France recreates Notre-Dame, it is only fair to ask it to carry out its promise to return stolen African objects and to restructure the deca tangibly.
Nevertheless, remember this: more than only its objects, Africa lost. Throughout the cities, our urbanism and our indigenous architecture went along with them.

Most Non-Africans often have sought to rationalize colonialism as a remote piece of history that Africans should have conquered. Nevertheless, his legacy is one that describes Africa forever.