"While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill their ideas" – the 34nd anniversary of the assassination of Africa’s Che Guevara
Thomas Isidore Noel Sankara was a Burkinabe military commander and President of the Republic of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.
Thomas Sankara was born in December 1949 to a Catholic family, and he went to military school like his father who was a veteran in the French army during World War II.
Sankara was a revolutionary leader and militant who stood for a long time against imperialism and foreign aid. His revolutionary positions and programs -that reinforced the value of self-reliance of his people- made of him a symbol of Africa’s poor.
His domestic policy succeeded in making the Republic of Burkina Faso the first African country to become self-sufficient with a surplus production at that time, as he encouraged local industries, worked to raise the standard of living of farmers, waived taxes weighing heavily on them, restored lands, thus doubling wheat and cotton production, all of which helped the country to become self-sufficient even with an export surplus.
Sankara prioritized education, literacy campaigns throughout the country, as well as public health promotion through vaccination against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles. He accorded attention to the country’s infrastructure, so he established railways to link villages and cities.
In addition, Sankara valued women's rights, so he appointed qualified women to senior government positions in the country. He is the first president in African history to prevent female circumcision and underage marriage.
"The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women's emancipation as an act of charity or out of a surge of human compassion. Rather, it is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph. Women are half the sky." Said Sankara.
He was nicknamed "Che Guevara" because of the great similarity between their Charisma and revolutionary orientations, their love for the vulnerable and their advocacy for their rights, their struggle against imperialism and the corrupt, not to mention that both of them established revolutionary courts to prosecute the corrupt. Shortly before his assassination, Sankara said: "Guevara died at the age of 39, but his legacy lives on."
His revolutionary policy and his positions against imperialism made him an enemy to France. So, they planned to overthrow him, and on 15th of October 1987, he was assassinated by an armed group on his way to attend a meeting and buried him in a cemetery. This was a tip from his friend "Compaore" who allied with foreign parties to get rid of Sankara as her represented a threat to their interests. Sankara uttered the truth without fear and paid with his life.