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What Ghana Did With its Ugly Past

Guido Gryseels has been getting calls for a week, asking if he’d give some statues a new home. He’s the director of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, and his institution, originally founded by Leopold II, might seem like a logical place to house monuments to the 19th-century king whose reign in Congo saw the murder and mutilation of at least 10 million Africans. One possible way to deal with a problematic statue would be to treat it like a bronze likeness of the deposed former president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. A statue of him was beheaded during a 1966 military coup, and later placed next to its body on a plinth, with a plaque explaining the history of its desecration. He said it was a way to simultaneously present both the history of Nkrumah’s regime and of the revolution that removed him.