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Morocco plans new laws to curb art forgery

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Moroccan authorities say there are plans to enact new laws to curb art forgery as well as strengthening penalties to combat such forgeries in order to protect a multimillion-dollar market that officials believe will continue to grow.

The country’s chief prosecutor who made the announcement on Monday, said the Ministry of Culture has kicked off a series of meetings with the National Foundation of Museums to discuss methods and practices to better police and detect forged paintings and artworks, including handing down harsher sentences and better regulating auction houses.

Also commenting on the plans, Minister of Youth, Culture and Communications,
Mehdi Ben Said, said:

“This problem is a real danger in this field. Moroccan paintings are now exported abroad and to combat forgery, it is essential to clean this business.”

The chief prosecutor added that officials value the country’s art market at roughly $2.5 million and noted that paintings in particular were gaining renown throughout the Middle East, particularly in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

“With these efforts, Morocco joins a list of countries to increasingly pursue forgeries, including the United States, where the FBI’s art crime team has taken on a more active role pursuing forgeries like those of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in 2023,” he said.

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Director of ‘Dahomey’ Mati Diop shines at Berlin Film Festival 2024

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Senegalese-French writer and and director of African documentary movie, “Dahomey,” Mati Diop, made history when her movie was selected for a special world premiere at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival.

She was joined by other directors of African descent including Gildas Adannou, Habib Ahandessi and Joséa Guedje at the premiere where Kenyan Hollywood actress, Lupita Nyong’o became the ever black person to head the festival’s jury.

“Dahomey” which is one of Africa’s entry in this year’s festival, is a documentary that explores colonization through the return of stolen artifacts plundered by French colonial troops and returned to Benin in West Africa.

Dahomey” follows the journey of plundered artifacts taken by French colonial troops in 1892, being sent from Paris to the Republic of Benin and the impact of their return.

Other African films selected for the festival include “Black Tea” by Mauritanian-born Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako, and “Who Do I Belong To” by Tunisian-Canadian director Meryam Joobeur.

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Tanzanians protest against Nyerere statue

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Some Tanzanians have taken to social media to protest against a recently unveiled statue of their founding father, Julius Nyerere.

According to them, the statue “does not look like” him.

The African Union (AU) had unveiled the statue in honour of the revered Tanzania founding president outside the Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

At the unveiling of the statue at a ceremony attended by numerous African heads of state, AU Commission leader Moussa Faki Mahamat said:

“The legacy of this remarkable leader encapsulates the essence of Pan Africanism, profound wisdom, and service to Africa.”

However, some Tanzanians have criticized the statue which they believe does not look like the pan-Africanist who led what is now Tanzania which was then known as Tanganyika, from independence in 1961 until 1985, a played a key role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union.

A user on X, Maria Sarungi, who expressed her disappointment at the statue wrote:

“I know the gesture counts the most, but this statue’s face bears little or no resemblance to Mwalimu Nyerere (old or young),” she wrote.

Another user who was not happy with the simply said:

“That is not our Nyerere.”

Known as Mwalimu, a Swahili word for teacher, Nyerere is remembered for uniting the country made up of more than 120 different ethnic groups, including Arab, Asian and European minorities.

He did this by promoting the use of Swahili as a common language and through his vision of Ujamaa (Familyhood) and his version of “African Socialism.”

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