Kenya wants its treasures back. Replicas could spur their return
3D-printed replicas can’t replace originals held in European museums. But they’re rekindling Kenyans’ memories of long-missing artifacts—and inspiring calls for repatriation.
Kondik, KenyaOn a sunny morning, John Ming’ala Obure shelters underneath the shade of a sausage tree, or yago tree in his native Luo language. For centuries, Luo and other Kenyan tribes have used the tree’s fruits, which contain a natural yeast, to brew alcohol. But today, the yago tree provides a respite from the sweltering sun as Obure prepares to touch for the first time an artifact that belonged to his ancestors: a headdress made from the horns of a wildebeest and decorated with seashells, the original of which was worn by a Luo medicinal healer more than a century ago.
Or rather, a plastic replica of it. The real one is currently more than 6,000 miles away in a