Future of Return: Fiction x Restitution

The conversation and thinking around the restitution of cultural and historical objects continues to morph.

In the last few years, we have witnessed seismic shifts in the thinking around the restitution of objects held in institutions of the North to African countries. Yet few objects have actually physically moved. We ask ourselves if this inertia is due to more than just politics and economics. Perhaps it is due to a lack of imagination. How can stories about the fate and ghosts of return help us imagine a future of restitution? Reparation? Home?
How does the future look from a point of restitution? What do the objects find when returning home? What communities gather around them? What histories, narratives and new sociabilities do they trigger and provoke?

The SHIFT collective and Down River Road partnered to curate an anthology of short stories by Kenyan writers imagining the return of cultural objects.

Our reflections:

There is No Return by Clifton Gachagua (down river road)

Unstoppable by SHIFT Collective (Sam Hopkins, Marian Nur Goni, Simon Rittmeier)

Deferment. Opacity. Accounting. by Alexis Teyie (down river road)

Dive into the stories:

And to you, many returns by Ray Mwihaki

To Rescue a god by Felix Omondi

Remembering by Clifton Gachagua

Sounds of Home by Carey Baraka

Principles of Collective De-Objectivization by Greenman Muleh Mbillo

lower gods by barthlomeo manzrui

What Colour is the Chameleon at the Night? by Michelle Angwenyi


/Future/ Return ~ a collaborative zine

On July 25, 2022 tens of wonderful people came together around this set of seven stories at Cheche Bookshop in Nairobi.
Writers read from their stories.
We played.
Some of the ways we responded to or shunned the ideas and questions raised by the theme are included in this zine here.
To our co-conspirators, artists and curators for this zine: stay radical.


Shukran sana.

October 2022

down river road team