A London based museum has agreed to return two locks of hair said to have been taken from an Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II, who committed suicide to prevent his apprehension.
This comes nearly a year since the Ethiopian government wrote to the British government seeking to have the two locks of hair repatriated so that it can be interred with Tewodros at the Trinity Monastery in the northern part of the country.
According to Ethiopia, it was inhuman and against their culture to display remains of a person.
According to Aljazeera, The National Army Museum saw it reasonable and necessary to heed to the request saying it was sensitive to the Ethiopian nation.
“We believe the Ethiopian government claim to repatriate is reasonable and we are pleased to be able to assist,” said Terri Dendy, the museum’s head of collections standards and care.
It is said that the British acquired the two lock in 1959 from a family of an artist who had painted the emperor before his death in 1868.
The officials of the museum will hold a meeting on Thursday to deliberate on repatriating the locks on basis of human remains later on March 2019.
The Ethiopian embassy is reported to have warmly welcomed the move terming it commendable.
“This exemplary gesture of goodwill… signifies the dawn of a new level of shared understanding in our complex history,” it said in a statement quoted by Al Jazeera.
The embassy has also predicted jubilations and ululations once the locks land home.
Ethiopia believes that the British soldiers removed the locks from Tewodros during an expedition to set free British hostages taken by the emperor who was angered by the British refusal to support him in the war against Muslim neighbours.
During the expedition, the British also kidnapped the son of Tewodros Prince Alemayehu and is believed to have died and buried in London. His remains are also on Ethiopian radar for repatriation.
The soldiers also looted an 18-carat gold crown, painting and more than 500 ancient manuscripts.
In a move that seeks to reclaim their heritage, are also demanding the return of “treasure of maqdala” which are being sheltered at British institutions, including London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
This case is reminiscent of other African countries move, seeking to have their valuables taken during colonial era returned.