december 2005 -

AFRICOM, 01-12-2005

Has somebody recently sidled up to you and tried to sell you a beautiful African lute? Well, if so, be careful, because it could be the stolen lute made by Lamu musician Kijumwa Masihi, said lute being the rightful property of the Lamu Museum in Kenya. There is a photo of the lute on the AFRICOM website, under the button "Heritage in peril"- just scroll down to the foot of the page and click on the "African objects stolen" link.

AFRICOM is the International Council of African Museums. Its new and improved website is completely bilingual, being written in both English and French. It also contains information on the organisation's programme, as well as a collection of links to other museums and cultural heritage organisations.

For those not employed by a museum, the section "Museums in Africa" is the most enjoyable. It contains a list of African countries, including brief details on each country's languages, income, life expectancy and most important export products, along with the international dialling code and Internet domain code. Just click again to see a list of that country's museums, and a link to their website (if any). In this way, as you journey through Africa, you can pop into the Oceanographic Museum (Tunisia) and the Livingstone Museum (Zambia), or even the African Language Museum and the Apartheid Museum (both in South Africa). Unfortunately, not all museums have their own website, so we are left asking: what is the Rimbaud Museum doing in Ethiopia, and does it really celebrate the life and works of the famous 19th Century French poet?