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Thomas Sankara

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Subject: Blaise Compaoré, Saye Zerbo, Republic of Upper Volta, Gilbert Diendéré, Maurice Yaméogo
Collection: 1949 Births, 1987 Deaths, African Pan-Africanists, Anti-Revisionists, Assassinated Burkinabé Politicians, Assassinated Heads of Government, Assassinated Heads of State, Burkinabé Christians, Burkinabé Communists, Burkinabé Revolutionaries, Burkinabé Roman Catholics, Communist Rulers, Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Leaders Ousted by a Coup, Leaders Who Took Power by Coup, Male Feminists, Marxist Theorists, National Anthem Writers, Pan-Africanists, People from Nord Region (Burkina Faso), People Murdered in Burkina Faso, Prime Ministers of Burkina Faso, Revolutionaries, Revolutionary Martyrs, Sankarism
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Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara
President of Burkina Faso
In office
4 August 1983 – 15 October 1987
Preceded by Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
Succeeded by Blaise Compaoré
Prime Minister of Upper Volta
In office
10 January 1983 – 17 May 1983
President Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
Preceded by Saye Zerbo
Succeeded by Youssouf Ouédraogo
Personal details
Born 21 December 1949
Yako, French West Africa
(Now Burkina Faso)
Died 15 October 1987(1987-10-15) (aged 37)
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Spouse(s) Mariam Sankara

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.[1][2] Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara".[1][3][4]

Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power.[1][5] He immediately launched one of the most ambitious programmes for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent.[5] To symbolize this new autonomy and rebirth, he renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso ("Land of Upright Man").[5] His foreign policies were centered on anti-imperialism, with his government eschewing all foreign aid, pushing for odious debt reduction, nationalizing all land and mineral wealth, and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nationwide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles.[6] Other components of his national agenda included planting over ten million trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel, doubling wheat production by redistributing land from feudal landlords to peasants, suspending rural poll taxes and domestic rents, and establishing an ambitious road and rail construction program to "tie the nation together".[5] On the localized level Sankara also called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities construct schools with their own labour. Moreover, his commitment to women's rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.[5]

In order to achieve this radical transformation of society, he increasingly exerted authoritarian control over the nation, eventually banning unions and a free press, which he believed could stand in the way of his plans.[5] To counter his opposition in towns and workplaces around the country, he also tried corrupt officials, "counter-revolutionaries" and "lazy workers" in Popular Revolutionary Tribunals.[5] Additionally, as an admirer of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution, Sankara set up Cuban-style Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs).[1]

His revolutionary programs for African self-reliance made him an icon to many of Africa's poor.[5] Sankara remained popular with most of his country's impoverished citizens. However his policies alienated and antagonised the vested interests of an array of groups, which included the small but powerful Burkinabé middle class, the tribal leaders whom he stripped of the long-held traditional right to forced labour and tribute payments, and France and its ally the Ivory Coast.[1][7] He was overthrown and assassinated in a coup d'état led by Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987. A week before his assassination, he declared: "While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas."[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Military career 2
  • Government posts 3
  • Presidency 4
    • Creating self-sufficiency 4.1
    • Health care and public works 4.2
    • People's Revolutionary Tribunals 4.3
    • Revolutionary Defense Committees 4.4
    • Women's rights 4.5
    • Second Agacher strip war 4.6
    • Human Rights and alleged violations 4.7
  • Personal image and popularity 5
    • Solidarity 5.1
    • Style 5.2
    • "Africa's Che Guevara" 5.3
  • Assassination 6
  • Body exhumation 7
  • Legacy 8
  • List of works 9
  • Further reading 10
  • DVD 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Early life

A map showing the major cities of Burkina Faso

Thomas Sankara was born in Yako, the son of Marguerite Sankara (died March 6, 2000) and Sambo Joseph Sankara (1919 – August 4, 2006), a gendarme.[8] Born into a Roman Catholic family, "Thom'Sank" was a Silmi-Mossi, an ethnic group that originated with marriage between Mossi men and women of the pastoralist Fulani people. The Silmi-Mossi are among the least advantaged in the Mossi caste system. He attended primary school in Gaoua and high school in Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's second city.

His father fought in the French army during World War II and was detained by the Nazis. Sankara's family wanted him to become a Catholic priest. As Burkina Faso has a large Muslim population, he was also familiar with the Qur'an.

Military career

After basic military training in secondary school in 1966, Sankara began his military career at the age of 19, and a year later was sent to Madagascar for officer training at Antsirabe where he witnessed popular uprisings in 1971 and 1972 against the government of Philibert Tsiranana and first read the works of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, profoundly influencing his political views for the rest of his life.[9] Returning to Upper Volta in 1972, by 1974 he fought in a border war between Upper Volta and Mali. He earned fame for his heroic performance in the border war with Mali, but years later would renounce the war as "useless and unjust", a reflection of his growing political consciousness.[10] He also became a popular figure in the capital of Ouagadougou. Sankara was a decent guitarist, he played in a band named "Tout-à-Coup Jazz" and rode a motorcycle. His deeds while in his early political career gives him a charismatic image that is admired by many.

In 1976 he became commander of the Commando Training Centre in Regroupement des officiers communistes, or ROC) the best-known members being Henri Zongo, Jean-Baptiste Boukary Lingani, Blaise Compaoré and Sankara.

Government posts

Sankara was appointed Secretary of State for Information in the military government in September 1981, journeying to his first cabinet meeting on a bicycle, but he resigned on April 21, 1982 in opposition to what he saw as the regime's anti-labour drift, declaring "Misfortune to those who gag the people!" ("Malheur à ceux qui bâillonnent le peuple!")

After another coup (November 7, 1982) brought to power Major-Doctor Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo, Sankara became prime minister in January 1983, but he was dismissed (May 17) and placed under house arrest after a visit by the French president's son and African affairs adviser Jean-Christophe Mitterrand. Henri Zongo and Jean-Baptiste Boukary Lingani were also placed under arrest; this caused a popular uprising.


Our revolution in Burkina Faso draws on the totality of man's experiences since the first breath of humanity. We wish to be the heirs of all the revolutions of the world, of all the liberation struggles of the peoples of the Third World. We draw the lessons of the American revolution. The French revolution taught us the rights of man. The great October revolution brought victory to the proletariat and made possible the realization of the Paris Commune's dreams of justice.
— Thomas Sankara, October 1984 [11]


Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
President of Upper Volta (Burkina Faso)
Succeeded by
Blaise Compaoré

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Burkina Faso Salutes "Africa's Che" Thomas Sankara by Mathieu Bonkoungou, Reuters, Oct 17 2007
  2. ^ a b Thomas Sankara Speaks: the Burkina Faso Revolution: 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, edited by Michel Prairie; Pathfinder, 2007, pg 11
  3. ^ Thomas Sankara, Africa's Che Guevara by Radio Netherlands Worldwide, October 15, 2007
  4. ^ Africa's Che Guevara by Sarah in Burkina Faso
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man by California Newsreel
  6. ^ a b c d e Commemorating Thomas Sankara by Farid Omar, Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa (GRILA), November 28, 2007
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1] [2]
  9. ^ Thomas Sankara Speaks: the Burkina Faso Revolution: 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, edited by Michel Prairie; Pathfinder, 2007, pg 20–21
  10. ^ a b The True Visionary Thomas Sankara by Antonio de Figueiredo, February 27, 2008
  11. ^ We are Heirs of the World's Revolutions: Speeches from the Burkina Faso Revolution: 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder, 2007, ISBN 0-87348-989-6
  12. ^ The date may have been chosen for a symbolic purpose as the 194th anniversary of the Abolition of Feudal Privileges in France, but there is no evidence.
  13. ^ Chad was at war with Libya. France was providing air support to Chad. According to some witnesses some French troops were involved in ground operations.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b African Agenda - A new perspective on Africa. "Africa`s Che Guevara and Burkina Faso." October 24, 2013Web. .
  16. ^ Demba Moussa Dembélé. "Thomas Sankara: an endogenous approach to development." 2013-10-2Web. .
  17. ^ HIV/AIDS, illness, and African well-being, by Toyin Falola & Matthew M. Heaton, University Rochester Press, 2007, ISBN 1-58046-240-5, pg 290
  18. ^ Stefan Christoff. "Echoes of Revolution: Burkina Faso's Thomas Sankara." January 13, 2008Web. .
  19. ^
  20. ^ United States Department of State. "Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1986." February 1987Web. .
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b "We are Heirs of the World’s Revolutions": Lessons from Thomas Sankara by Akinyemi Adeseye, May 15, 2010
  23. ^ Ama Biney. "Revisiting Thomas Sankara, 26 years later." 2013-10-24.
  24. ^ a b Bryant, Terry (2007). History's Greatest War. Global Media.
  25. ^ Amnesty International, Burkina Faso: Political Imprisonment and the Use of Torture from 1983 to 1988 (London: Amnesty International, 1988).
  26. ^ R. Sharp, Burkina Faso: New Life for the Sahel? A Report for Oxfam (Oxford: Oxfam, 1987), p. 13
  27. ^ R. Otayek, 'The Revolutionary Process in Burkina Faso: Breaks and Continuities,' in J. Markakis & M. Waller, eds., Military Marxist Régimes in Africa (London: Frank Cass, 1986), p. 95.
  28. ^ C. Morrisson & J.-P. Azam, Conflict and Growth in Africa, vol. I: The Sahel (Paris: OECD, 1999), p. 70.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Sankara 20 years Later: A Tribute to Integrity by Demba Moussa Dembélé, Pambazuka News, October 15, 2008
  31. ^
  32. ^ Sankara v. Burkina Faso by the Canadian Council on International Law, March 2007
  33. ^ pg 31
  34. ^ Thomas Sankara remains: Burkina Faso begins exhumation
  35. ^ DVD Review of Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man directed by Robin Shuffield



  • Burkina Faso’s Pure President by Bruno Jaffré
  • Thomas Sankara Lives! by Mukoma Wa Ngugi
  • There Are Seven Million Sankaras by Koni Benson
  • Thomas Sankara: "I have a Dream" by Federico Bastiani
  • Thomas Sankara: Chronicle of an Organised Tragedy by Cheriff M. Sy
  • Thomas Sankara Former Leader of Burkina Faso by Désiré-Joseph Katihabwa
  • Thomas Sankara 20 Years Later: A Tribute to Integrity by Demba Moussa Dembélé
  • Remembering Thomas Sankara, Rebecca Davis, The Daily Maverick, 2013
  • ‘I can hear the roar of women’s silence’, Sokarie Ekine, Red Pepper, 2012
  • Thomas Sankara: A View of The Future for Africa and The Third World by Ameth Lo
  • Thomas Sankara on the Emancipation of Women, An internationalist whose ideas live on! by Nathi Mthethwa
  • Thomas Sankara, le Che africain by Pierre Venuat (fr)

Web articles

  • Who killed Sankara?, by Alfred Cudjoe, 1988, University of California, ISBN 9964-90-354-5
  • La voce nel deserto, by Vittorio Martinelli and Sofia Massai, 2009, Zona Editrice, ISBN 978-88-6438-001-8
  • Thomas Sankara - An African Revolutionary, by Ernest Harsch, 2014, Ohio University Press, ISBN 978-0-8214-4507-5


Further reading

  • Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution, 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder Press, 1988, ISBN 0-87348-527-0
  • We Are the Heirs of the World's Revolutions: Speeches from the Burkina Faso Revolution 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder Press, 2007, ISBN 0-87348-989-6
  • Women's Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder Press, 1990, ISBN 0-87348-585-8

List of works

Twenty years after his assassination, on October 15, 2007, Thomas Sankara was commemorated in ceremonies that took place in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Niger, Tanzania, Burundi, France, Canada, and the USA.[6]


The exhumation of what are believed to be the remains of Sankara was started on Africa’s Freedom Day, 25 May 2015. Once exhumed the family will formally identify his remains, a long-standing demand of his family and supporters. Permission for an exhumation was denied during the rule of his successor, Blaise Compaoré.[34]

Body exhumation

Sankara's body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave,[5] while his widow Mariam and two children fled the nation.[32] Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara's policies, rejoined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to bring in "desperately needed" funds to restore the “shattered” economy,[33] and ultimately spurned most of Sankara's legacy. Compaoré's dictatorship remained in power for 27 years, until it was overthrown by popular protests in 2014.

On October 15, 1987, Sankara was killed by an armed group with twelve other officials in a coup d'état organised by his former colleague Blaise Compaoré. Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given, with Compaoré stating that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast.[1] Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord allied to Charles Taylor, told Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that it was engineered by Charles Taylor.[31] After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days.


Sankara, who is often referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara",[1] emulated Guevara (1928–1967) in both style and substance. Stylistically, Sankara emulated Guevara by preferring to wear a starred beret and military fatigues, living ascetically with few possessions, and keeping a minimal salary once assuming power. Both men also considered themselves allies of Fidel Castro (Sankara was visited by Castro in 1987), are well known for having ridden motorcycles, and are often cited as effectively utilizing their charisma to motivate their followers. Substantively, Guevara and Sankara were both Marxist revolutionaries, who believed in armed revolution against imperialism and monopoly capitalism, denounced financial neo-colonialism before the United Nations, held up agrarian land reform and literacy campaigns as key parts of their agenda, and utilized revolutionary tribunals and CDR's against opponents. Both men were also killed in their late thirties (Guevara 39 / Sankara 38) by opponents, with Sankara coincidentally giving a speech marking and honoring the 20th anniversary of Che Guevara's October 9, 1967 execution, one week before his own assassination on October 15, 1987.[30]

"Pioneers of the Revolution", donning starred berets like Guevara
Che Guevara taught us we could dare to have confidence in ourselves, confidence in our abilities. He instilled in us the conviction that struggle is our only recourse. He, was a citizen of the free world that together we are in the process of building. That is why we say that Che Guevara is also African and Burkinabè.
— Thomas Sankara [22]

"Africa's Che Guevara"

  • He required public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen.[5]
  • He was known for jogging unaccompanied through Ouagadougou in his track suit and posing in his tailored military fatigues, with his mother-of-pearl pistol.[1]
  • When asked why he didn't want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, Sankara replied: "There are seven million Thomas Sankaras."[6]
  • An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself.[1]


  • In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army's provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).[1]
  • He forced well-off civil servants to pay one month's salary to public projects.[1]
  • He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.[6]
  • As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.[6]

"Thomas knew how to show his people that they could become dignified and proud through will power, courage, honesty and work. What remains above all of my husband is his integrity."

Mariam Sankara, Thomas' widow [1]
  • He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
  • He reduced the salaries of well-off public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
  • He redistributed land from the feudal landlords to the peasants. Wheat production increased from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient.[5]
  • He opposed foreign aid, saying that "he who feeds you, controls you."[5]
  • He spoke in forums like the neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance.[5]
  • He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting.[5]


Accompanying his personal charisma, Sankara had an array of original initiatives that contributed to his popularity and brought some international media attention to his government:

The coat of arms of Burkina Faso under Sankara from 1984–87, featuring a crossed mattock and AK-47 (an allusion to the Hammer and Sickle) with the motto "La Patrie ou la Mort, nous vaincrons" (English: "Motherland or death, we will win").

Personal image and popularity

Year Political Rights Civil Liberties Status
1984 7 5 Not Free
1985 7 6 Not Free
1986 7 6 Not Free
1987 7 6 Not Free
[29]. A score of 1 is "most free" and 7 is "least free".Freedom House reports, published annually by Freedom in the WorldThe following chart shows Burkina Faso's human rights ratings under Sankara from 1984-1987 presented in the

Sankara's régime was criticised by [28]

Human Rights and alleged violations

In 1985, Burkina Faso organised a general population census. During the census, some Fula camps in Mali were visited by mistake by Burkinabé census agents.[24] The Malian government claimed that the act was a violation of its sovereignty on the Agacher strip. Following efforts by Mali asking African leaders to pressure Sankara,[24] tensions erupted on Christmas Day 1985 in a war that lasted five days and killed about 100 people (most victims were civilians killed by a bomb dropped on the marketplace in Ouahigouya by a Malian MiG plane). The conflict is known as the "Christmas war" in Burkina Faso.

Second Agacher strip war

Improving women's status was one of Sankara's explicit goals, and his government included a large number of women, an unprecedented policy priority in West Africa. His government banned female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and polygamy; while appointing women to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.[5] Sankara also promoted contraception and encouraged husbands to go to market and prepare meals to experience for themselves the conditions faced by women. Sankara recognized the challenges faced by African Women when he gave his famous address to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, 1987 in Ouagadougou. He spoke to thousands of women in a highly political speech in which he stated that the Burkinabé revolution was "establishing new social relations" which would be "upsetting the relations of authority between men and women and forcing each to rethink the nature of both. This task is formidable but necessary."[23] Furthermore, Sankara was the first African leader to appoint women to major cabinet positions and to recruit them actively for the military.[5]

The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky.
— Thomas Sankara [22]

Women's rights

The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution were created as a form of "revolutionary vigilance".[21] Sankara's CDR's in large-scale overstepped their power, accused by some of thuggery and gang like behavior CDR groups would meddle in the everyday life of the Burkinabé. Individuals would use their power to settle scores or punish enemies, Sankara himself noted the failure publicly. One of Sankara's biggest failures the public placed the blame of individual CDR actions squarely on Sankara.[5] The failure of the CDR's coupled with the failure of the Revolutionary Teachers program, mounting labour, middle class disdain and Sankara's steadfastness lead to the regime partially weakening within Burkina Faso.[5]

Revolutionary Defense Committees

Shortly after attaining power Sankara constructed a system of courts known as the Popular Revolutionary Tribunal. The courts were created originally to try former government officials with simplicity so the average Burkinabe could participate in or oversee trials of enemies of the revolution.[5] They placed defendants on trial for corruption, tax evasion or "counter-revolutionary" activity. Sentences to former government officials are light and often suspended. The tribunals have been alleged to be only show trials,[19] held very openly with oversight from the public. Procedures in these trials, especially legal protections for the accused, did not conform to international standards. Defendants had to prove themselves innocent of the crimes they were charged with committing and were not allowed to be represented by council.[20] The courts were originally met with adoration from the Burkinabé people but over time became corrupt and oppressive. So called "lazy workers" were tried and sentenced to work for free or expelled from their jobs and discriminated against. Some even created their own courts to settle scores and humiliate their enemies.[5]

People's Revolutionary Tribunals

Large scale housing and infrastructure projects were also undertaken, brick factories are created to help build houses in effort to end urban slums.[15] In an attempt to fight deforestation The People’s Harvest of Forest Nurseries is created to supply 7,000 village nurseries, as well as organizing the planting of several million trees. All regions of the country are soon connected by a vast road and rail building program. Over 700 Kilometers of rail was laid by Burkinabé people to facilitate manganese extraction in "The Battle of thee Rails" without any foreign aid or outside money.<[5] These programs were an attempt to prove that African countries can be prosperous without foreign help or aid. These revolutionary developments and national economic programs shook the foundations of the traditional economic development models imposed on Africa.[18] Sankara also launched education programs to help combat the country's 90% illiteracy rate. These programs had some success in the first few years. However, wide scale teacher strikes coupled with Sankara's unwillingness to negotiate led to the creation of "Revolutionary Teachers". In an attempt to replace the nearly 2,500 teachers fired over a strike in 1987 anyone with a college degree was invited to teach through the revolutionary teachers program. Volunteers received a 10-day training course before being sent off to teach; the results were disastrous.[5]

[17] epidemic as a major threat to Africa.AIDS Sankara's administration was also the first African government to publicly recognize the [5] Sankara's first priorities after taking office were feeding, housing, and giving medical care to his people who desperately needed it. Sankara launched a mass vaccination program in an attempt to irradicate

Health care and public works

Immediately after Sankara took office he suppressed most of the powers held by tribal chiefs in Burkina Faso. These feudal landlords were stripped of their rights to tribute payments and forced labour as well as having their land distributed amongst the peasantry.[14] This served the dual-purpose of creating a higher standard of living for the average Burkinabe as well as creating an optimal situation to induce Burkina Faso into food self-sufficiency. Within four years Burkina Faso reached food sufficiency due in large part to feudal land redistribution and series of irrigation and fertilization programs instituted by the government. During this time production of cotton and wheat shot up. In 1986 the average wheat production for the Sahel region was 1700 kg per hectare, in 1986 Burkina Faso was producing 3900 kg of wheat per hectare.[15] This success meant Sankara had not only shifted his country into food self-sufficiency but had in turn created a food surplus.[5] Sankara also emphasized the production of cotton and the need to transform the cotton produced in Burkina Faso into clothing for the people.[16]

Our country produces enough to feed us all. Alas, for lack of organization, we are forced to beg for food aid. It’s this aid that instills in our spirits the attitude of beggars.
— Thomas Sankara [2]

Creating self-sufficiency

In 1984, on the first anniversary of his accession, he renamed the country Burkina Faso, meaning "the land of upright people" in Moré and Djula, the two major languages of the country. He also gave it a new flag and wrote a new national anthem (Une Seule Nuit).

Sankara saw himself as a revolutionary and was inspired by the examples of Cuba's Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and Ghana's military leader Jerry Rawlings. As President, he promoted the "Democratic and Popular Revolution" (Révolution démocratique et populaire, or RDP). The ideology of the Revolution was defined by Sankara as anti-imperialist in a speech of October 2, 1983, the Discours d'orientation politique (DOP), written by his close associate Valère Somé. His policy was oriented toward fighting corruption, promoting reforestation, averting famine, and making education and health real priorities.

). History of Chad (see [13]Chad in France which was, at the time, on the verge of war with Libya was supported by coup d'état at the age of 33. The [12]

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