Thomas Sankara (Dec. 21, 1949 – Oct. 15, 1987)
Thomas Sankara was dubbed “Africa’s Che Guevara” after leading a successful coup d’état against the corrupt government of Burkina Faso in 1983.
- Formerly known as “Upper Volta,” Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso, meaning “Land of Upright People.”
- Sankara was a Pan-Africanist who aimed to create a self- and economically-sufficient population by driving out rampant government corruption.
- He also helped to relieve his nation from dependence on its former French colonizers and other foreign aid.
- Sankara’s foreign policies were centered around “anti-imperialism, with his government eschewing all foreign aid [and] pushing for odious debt reduction,” according to his biography.
- Meanwhile, his domestic policies focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, promoting public health and prioritizing education.
- Sankara fought for environmental protections and worked to bring an end to female genital mutilation, commonly referred to as FGM.
- As a promoter of women’s rights, he also worked to appoint women to high positions within Burkina Faso’s government.
- Sankara was assassinated, along with 13 other officials, on Oct. 15, 1987. All were fatally wounded by a barrage of bullets.
- His killing was masterminded by his former close ally, Blaise Compaoré, who had the support of the French.
source: atlantablackstarcom ByTanasia Kenney