Community campaigner Chaka Artwell has condemned the removal of shrunken heads from display at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, claiming the decision is 'wrong, upsetting and politically correct gesture politics'.

The Oxford University museum has taken the decision as part of a 'decolonisation process'.

Oxford Mail:

It had acquired 12 shrunken heads, or ‘tsantsas’, made by the Shuar and Achuar people from the rainforests of Ecuador and Peru, previously described as ‘headhunters’.

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Barton-based Mr Artwell, former Independent candidate for Oxford East, has written a letter to the Oxford Mail outlining his views.

He wrote: "From here to Timbuktu” was an English phrase heavily used when I was a child, which meant something very far away.  

"I had no idea Timbuktu was a real place in Southern Africa; famous for being one of Africa’s earliest and oldest Universities. Timbuktu’s arid environment was perfect for storing Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts. 

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"However, with the destabilisation of Libya in 2011, heavily armed Rebels have wreaked havoc in West Africa.  The Rebels have killed the Custodians of Timbuktu’s ancients’ manuscripts.  Many of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts not specifically concerned with Islam have been burned or destroyed.  

"How I wished the English had plundered all of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts and put them on display at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts would have been protected. 

"To read in the Oxford Mail that the Pitt Rivers has removed its South American Shrunken Heads collection in the name of “decolonising the curriculum” is upsetting and another example of Politically Correct gesture politics. Pitt Rivers has made the wrong decision. "What would happen if England’s museums returned West Africa’s wonderful Benin Bronzes?  The Benin Bronzes would be destroyed by Rebels for not honouring Islam. 

Oxford Mail:

"How many people know that the famous St Augustine of Hippo was African; his Mother Monica was African. He spoke an African language, and his theology shaped Western Christianity. 

"In every depiction of St Augustine I have seen, he is portrayed as a Northern Caucasian man; along with the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ."

He added: "I joined Oxford’s 2014 “decolonisation” protest to restore African-skinned people’s contribution to ancient and modern history."