This post has been waving over and around my head since visiting the place. Galleries, museums, cathedrals, garden centre’s all that jazz is straight down my alley. I don’t know why, but I have always had a level curiosity by the history, culture and everything that is contained inside a museum. No two people are exactly the same and I’ve found the very same saying can also be applied for any artistic venue that you happen to experience.
I would say, I have been lucky enough to experience a few museums/galleries domestically and across Europe, the visit to the British Museum left an uneasy taste on the tongue.
First thing first, if you’re ever near Tottenham Court Road, don’t waste anytime and get yourself down there. For all you singletons wondering were you could take someone on a date. Do your research make yourself look smart and take your potential other down there, you’ll have a good time and its cost-effective, It’s free!
Let’s get back on track. I kid you not, the place is designed like a maze. I felt like me and my younger brother Aaron (it’s not pronounced A-A-Ron like our North American friends seem to think it is) walking we’re at times fully lost around all the history and wonder throughout the whole place at times fully lost around all the history and wonder throughout the whole place.
*Kendrick Lamar voice* Have you seen a dead body? I have and it caught me way off guard. The poor individual who passed away due to blow that he received to the back of the head laid encased as a form of art. His body had natural mummified with his skeletal remains, skin and hair remaining visible to this day. It felt weird watching him, reading about his last moments, whilst people were taking snapshots. It just felt a bit too eerie as he was the main attraction in the room surrounded by Egyptian artefacts, waiting to be fully laid to rest. Sweeping through the rooms, taking everything in and attempting to mentally visualise a world where all these things actually were at the forefront of modern-day importance.
After taking everything in walking through the exhibit sections which housed the Egyptians, Romans and Greek historical artefacts. We came around to full circle without me seeing what I originally wanted to see, The Pantheon. We came to a decision to stop being stubborn and actually ask for directions of which were very much helpful and given.
And there it was, The Pantheon.
The Pantheon, which was built as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Once upon a time, it was the centrepiece of a pioneering and aggressive building project on the Acropolis of Athens.
At this point, I’m very satisfied. On our way to the pantheon we noticed that there was an African section within the “British Museum” which I believe should be renamed “The World Museum” as the British content within the building is low, whilst its overshadowed by the more the memorable and mythical intelligence of past Kingdoms.
As we make our way to the hidden African section. When I mean hidden, we asked three guides for help and finally reached the section after the third. Me and my brother were taken back at how many Congolese artefacts were placed in the section. For those of you who are not aware, both of my parents are Congolese, with roots going further back to Angola.
Being surrounded by all these Congolese artefacts had the both of us in very mixed feelings. One hand we were both visible proud, seeing all this Congolese culture and then when we looked at our other hand, it became very heavy with anger.
The anger came from a place that’s always been there whenever I think of Congo. There is a little tale attached to the blessing that caused so much suffering to Congo and it’s people. The tale goes as, when God was busy creating the Earth and everything in it, he had a big bag of natural resources, imagine Santa Claus with his bag throwing things all over the globe. So the days have passed and God has created everything in it. So he thinks to himself let me take a little much deserved break. So he lays down above the Earth for a bit of shut-eye. To his amazement when he wakes up, he looks over to see an empty bag, the same heavy bag that he was carrying around the Earth. At this point his baffled, doesn’t have a clue what could have have happened as he searches around for the contents of the bag. Just when he wants to give up rescue act, he notices that contents of the now empty bag has fallen onto the Earth, the country which was now the owner of the remaining contents, happened to be Congo. Congo became the worlds nutritional home. Fast forward to the 21st century, the country with the potential of being the richest nation on Earth due to the value of its natural resources is the one of the poorest due to the very same natural resources that could produce a productive and efficient nation. With over 50% of the world’s supply currently being mined in Congo since King Leopold II “discovered” Congo, the country and it’s people have not known anything but hell in heaven.
The main material that is constantly extracted out of the country without the nation receiving any of its profitable benefits is the Congolese and real life version of vibranium, cobalt. Cobalt is used throughout all major mobile and other technology creating establishments. Unlike Wakanda, Congo doesn’t have an invisible cloak to protect itself.
And then there is me. Looking at all this culture with excitement and amazement, whilst still creating mental pictures of King Leopold II of Belgium finding and officially becoming the sole owner Congo after a conference in Berlin, where he was authorised to “improve the lives” of the native inhabitants. A time that Congo has never fully recovered from, its silent Holocaust.
I couldn’t help but think of Killmonger in Black Panther, looking at these artefacts from various nations in Africa.
“It was taken by British soldiers in Benin, but it’s from Wakanda. And it’s made out of vibranium. Don’t trip, I’m gonna take it of your hands for you.” If I could attach a quote to any room, this would be fitting of this little section of the “British Museum”. The more we stayed in the section, the more we felt better about the experience of connecting to our past. Connecting to our ancestors and our mother practises. The energy I felt being in that room, is something that I have never experienced before and it’s moment me and Aaron will always share.
To potential visitors of the place, I repeat again, please go! You’ll leave the place with more questions than you original anticipated.
Educate, enjoy, experience the day.
Thank you for reading this post. Hopefully within my lifetime, Congo will be allowed to rest. For now you all know the deal, stay positive, stay smiling.
From your favourite blogger
Happy Birthday Aaron. Enjoy your day, young King.