A Proposal for Action on African Archives in Europe
Archival displacement is acutely evident in many African archives and has been at the forefront of the minds of archivists from the East and Central African Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ECARBICA) from 1969. This chapter surveys various efforts to locate, copy or repatriate displaced archives, observing a general lack of progress on the resolution of the question of African archives in Europe, and finally proposes that European archivists could usefully take a position on the matter. It is concerned with records removed to Europe from the African territories in which they were created, regardless of factors that might allow them to be defined more precisely. A common feature of British colonial administration in Africa was its failure to develop effective archival practices. It is time for the former colonial governments to open bilateral discussions and institute measures for the return of African records to their places of origin.