“you cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness.”
The revolutionary pan-african marxist conscientious leader was said to bleed charisma .Thomas Sankara was known for his foresight & passion for the plight of his people. He was -what we like to think of- as a modern day Robin Hood…minus actually stealing from the rich. He did however fight to meet the needs of the poor Burkinabé.
In 1981 Thomas Sankara was appointed his first political seat as Secretary of State for Information in the military government that was then know as “Upper Volta”. He shocked Burkinabè people by using a mere bicycle as his mode of transportation to his cabinet meetings. In 1982 Thomas Sankara resigned from his seat in government; penning an open letter to denounce the French influenced President & the corrupt bourgeois regime. Shortly after he was placed under house arrest.
In 1983 Sankara busted out!
& seized power! With the help of some like minded revolutionists something beautiful began to ensue in Africa.
His first intellectual move was to reclaim the name of the country back for it’s people “Burkina Faso ” which meant “Land of Upright Man” symbolizing our autonomy & freedom. Barely weeks under Sankara’s regime ~2.5M children were vaccinated against meningitis,yellow fever & measles. He planted over 10M trees to combat the desertification in the Sahel. He encouraged freedom of the press, urging them to write real stories on corruption. Under his leadership Burkina Faso’s literacy rate increased by a whooping 63%. He appointed women in places of power in his government & outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages, polygamy, all while offering maternity leave for students who were with child.
He opposed foreign aid/ loans & compelled other African countries to repudiate their foreign loans on the grounds of predatory loaning. He constantly held forums for the unification of the blacks & spoke against the continued neo-colonial penetration in Africa through western trade…he couldn’t have predicted China. He redistributed land from entitled landlords giving it directly to the people in need, increasing Burkina Faso’s wheat production. He required all public servants wear traditional Bukinabé tunic; woven & sewn by Burkinabé craftsmen.
On October 15th, 1987 the 37 young & promising leader was assassinated while attending a meeting in his courtyard in a coup d’état orchestrated by Blaise Compaoré.
A week prior to this Sankara was quoted saying “while revolutionaries as individuals themselves can be murdered you cannot kill ideas”
…& he was right.