Arts & Culture

Why does this Museum in Belgium hurt the hearts of Africans?

This royal museum of central Africa, Brussels Belgium that once wounded millions of Africans. The Royal Museum of Central Africa (RMCA) is full of propaganda and smells of racism and discrimination.

The museum which initially functioned as an exhibition venue at the 1897 World Exhibition was built by the Belgian King Leopold II, who was known as a cruel king.

At that time King Leopold II owned the Congo in Africa personally. He killed many Congolese who did not obey his orders.

However, this is not the image King Leopold II wants to show the world. He wants to show off how he built Congo, not his cruelty. He wanted to show the people of Belgium and the international community about the potential of the Congo.

Important objects were brought from Congo and exhibited at the venue, which was originally the Palais des Colonies (colonial palace). But not only immovable objects are transported, but also the people.

People from Congo are exhibited in a human garden, which is a zoo for humans.

After the exhibition ended, the Palais des Colonies was changed into the Congo Museum the following year. And after Congo gained independence in 1960, the museum changed its name to RMCA which focuses on Congo, Rwanda and Burundi in particular, and Central Africa in general.

But in its history, this museum has always been full of propaganda, stereotypes and controversies. The objects on display aim to direct public opinion about the superiority of western culture and how primitive people are in Africa.

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Many of these objects are looted and stolen. In addition, African people who are the original owners of these objects were not involved in the museum’s interpretation and curation process. The RMCA made the impression that the colonial process was important and well done for the betterment of the Congo.

One of the most controversial objects is a human statue in a leopard costume that is killing a human. Humans in leopard costumes are figures that appear in Congolese cultural rituals.

But in real life, humans don’t kill humans. The RMCA tries to show how primitive life is in Congo where people still kill each other wildly and sadistically. The statue and several other objects on display to give the wrong impression of Africa.

Protests and complaints were filed with the RMCA which made the museum finally closed in 2013 for changes.

In 2018, the RMCA will reopen with a new face. RMCA is now getting rid of things that are considered controversial and smell of discrimination.

The museum also acknowledged the mistakes they made and apologized for events in the past. No half-hearted, they also have returned more than 700 objects to Africa that was seized from the land.

Although it has not satisfied many parties, at the moment the RMCA has a more positive feel. But the museum is still open to various kinds of input and criticism.

In addition to the history of colonialism, visitors can also understand language, music, nature, economic potential, rituals and biodiversity in Central Africa.

If you want to come, visitors only have to take tram number 44 from downtown Brussels which was built specifically to bring visitors to the RMCA.

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RMCA is not the only museum with a nuance of colonialism in the world. In Amsterdam there is also a museum with the same tone as the Tropenmuseum. The museum was originally built by the Dutch to showcase Indonesia, which was previously a colony of the Amsterdam city.