It was a historic moment on 28 November when His Majesty Haye Dr. Makorani-a-Mungase VII, King of the Royal Nation of Pokomo Communities, along the River Tana in Kenya, finally laid his eyes on the sacred relic, the Ngadji. An imposing drum at 8 ft 7 ins high by 2 feet in circumference, the Ngadji is traditionally a symbol and means of ultimate authority, spirituality, governance and social order for the Pokomo.

It was taken from the Pokomo community over 115 years ago, at the onset of colonialism by the British and was gifted to the British Museum by Sir Alfred Hollis in 1908. It is currently kept in confined seclusion in the British Museum. The loss of the Ngadji has left a significant void in the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Pokomo, practiced for over 300 years.

King Mungase VII, who as King of the Pokomo is custodian and Grand Master of the Ngadji, was granted access to the sacred drum, being only the second Pokomo to see the Ngadji in over 100 years. His Highness Papa Paul Eganda I, the Global President of London-based AIDO Network International, joined His Majesty to commune with the ancestral Njadji, in a deeply spiritual and emotional encounter. The first person and only other family member to have seen the Ngadji was Mkidjo Baiba Dhidha Mjidho, King Mungase IV\’s elder brother, who resides in the United Kingdom

The Pokomo community is in the process of launching a global campaign for the return of the Ngadji to the Pokomo Royal Nation. The royals, who were accompanied by Ms Tonika Stephenson, attorney-at-law who is active in the Windrush compensation scheme, were invited to engage in discussions with Dr. Julie Hudson and Dr. Sam Dixon, representatives of the Museum.

Activism for the return of cultural property stolen from Africa during the colonial era has been gaining momentum as the awareness of the gravity of the issue increases. Synergies are also being forged with the global movement for reparatory justice.

By AIDO Network