Join Friends of Pambazuka

Subscribe for Free!



Fahamu Bulletin Archive

News about our programmes 30, Sept. 2014

Donate to Pambazuka News!

Follow Us

delicious bookmarks facebook twitter

Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
Buy now

China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
Buy now

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
Buy now

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: December 2011 newsletter

Deborah Brautigam provides an overview and description of China's development finance to Africa. "Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid - and non-aid - to Africa provides insights into China's strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained", she states as she describes China's provision of grants, zero-interest loans and concessional loans. Pambazuka Press recently released a publication titled India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power, and Oliver Stuenkel provides his review of the book.
The December edition available here.

The 2010 issues: September, October, November, December, and the 2011 issues: January, February, March , April, May , June , July , August , September, October and November issues are all available for download.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Features

Sankara and the murdered revolution

Tidiane Kasse

2013-10-25, Issue 651

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/89378

Bookmark and Share

Printer friendly version

Although murdered by retrogressive forces opposed to Burkina Faso’s true liberation and that of Africa, Thomas Sankara’s revolutionary ideas and initiatives remain a powerful inspiration to those individuals and movements that are dedicated to struggles for social justice everywhere

When you are fifty today in Africa, which coincides with fifty years of formal independence of the continent, the Pan-Africanist ideals you can feel inside, the thirst for sovereignty that is irrepressible in your heart, rebellion that nurtures within in order to break the chains of mental slavery, the motivation to fight in order to lead the continent towards a dynamic of emancipation and social construction, are not an elusive reality. These are ‘dreams’ that are still inspired by the first heroes and heroines who fought for the destiny of Africa.

When you are fifty what you learn from the struggles of leaders like Nkrumah, Lumumba, etc., only comes from readings and evocations, yet you have also lived through the era of Thomas Sankara. You have experienced the reality of resistance and realized that it is possible for Africans to take their destiny, assume it, build it and see ‘the people write their happiness.’

‘Seeing the people write their happiness’ is a formula of Thomas Sankara. This was the meaning of his political action. President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, he led his country on the path of a cultural and economic revolution in accordance with popular aspirations, with tangible and effective results. Murdering Thomas Sankara on 15 October 1987, twenty-six years ago, was like assassinating a bold, proactive and emancipatory political project for Africa.

Sankara is seen as a visionary. He was. A number of axis of resistance have developed in Africa today, in order to fight against the systems of domination that organize the looting of the continent and arrest its development. The systemic rupture needed for a social justice based governance and a democratic system that is not falsely representative are illustrated in the words and deeds of Thomas Sankara.

For four years Burkina lived under his direction of popular power with human challenges, because his political will was beyond the feudal and social inertia factors. Sankara pushed land reform and redistributed land from feudal landlords to peasants. He suspended rural poll taxes and domestic rents. Commited to women's rights, he banned female genital mutilation, fought against forced marriages and polygamy. In his government, women were appointed in very important positions such as Minister of the Budget. They were encouraged to join the revolutionary commitees instead of only managing domestic work.

Was Sankara going too fast? Were the reforms too bold? Not at all, since he achieved significant results. In a continent coerced to adopt World Bank and IMF programs, limiting public investments with its social impact, Sankara promoted a national agenda focusing on agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, education, public health and infrastructure. Burkina Faso, under Sankara, doubled the rate of tuition in 2-3 years through a nation-wide campaign literacy campaign. It was a performance hailed by UNESCO. Also, in four years, 32 dams were built, against 20 in the 24 previous years - that is, since the independence of the country. These achievements of the Sankara regime where made on the basis of a popular mobilization, using local human and financial resources, involving grassroots communities and using their own labour. Indeed, Sankara was in line with the people’s aspirations.

In fact, Sankara was murdered by predatory cliques for whom organizing the systematic looting of Africa has been the guiding principle since the colonial era. The fatal conspiracy was fed by internal betrayal. It was facilitated by the complicity of groups hostile to reforms and upheavals that challenged their vested interests.

Africa has not forgotten Sankara. For the twenty-sixth anniversary of his assassination on 15 October 2013, several events took place on the continent and also in the world. In Dakar, Abidjan, Montreal (Canada), etc., conferences and debates were organized on the theme of Sankara’s legacy and the importance of his struggle. In Ouagadougou, the citizen movement ‘Balai citoyen’, led by young hip hop artists, called for traditional flowers to be laid on Sankara’s grave which was attended by a huge number of people. It is the force of Sankara’s example that motivates, but the driven force is the actuality of his struggle.

It is in this context that Pambazuka News has decided to devote a special edition to Thomas Sankara, published in three languages: French, English and Portuguese. Some articles that are not in the English edition of this week will be published next week, along with the Portuguese edition.

Contributions are from activists committed to Sankara’s cause and ideology. Through their analyses and testimonies, they:

- recall the story of a leader engaged in a genuine revolutionary process that remains "the last African revolution interrupted, as she began to garner promising results", (Justice for Sankara International Campaign statement)

- magnified the essence of the political ideology of Thomas Sankara, through the "warmth and compassion (he had) in respect of other human beings", (Amber Murrey)

- highlighted the strong will of Sankara for a "mental liberation of Africans, (after) colonization has led to states of mind that sometimes bordered on self-hatred", that made him the first apostles of the African Renaissance. (Sakosablig Agun Mod)

- showed what kind of leader Sankara would be today, engaging in fights against the "new enemies of the people in the African governments that engage in land rental” and “neoliberal policies that are anathema to those who have the best interests of the African people at heart" (Ama Biney)

- signified the importance of breaks engaged by Sankara in order to transform the administration, promote the redistribution of wealth, fight against corruption, favour the liberation of women, empower youth, etc.

Pambazuka News also offers some videos whose links can guide you in the course of Sankara’s political struggles, see his revolutionary enthusiasm and the strength of his determination, but also his awareness of the danger he was to face while fighting against the supreme enemy: imperialism.

The monster finally got him. But this special edition of Pambazuka News, like other initiatives, shows that his fight was one of those that remain eternal.

* Tidiane Kasse is the editor of the French edition of Pambazuka News

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS
* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!
* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.


Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.




↑ back to top

ISSN 1753-6839 Pambazuka News English Edition http://www.pambazuka.org/en/

ISSN 1753-6847 Pambazuka News en Français http://www.pambazuka.org/fr/

ISSN 1757-6504 Pambazuka News em Português http://www.pambazuka.org/pt/

© 2009 Fahamu - http://www.fahamu.org/