The Great Men's Cross 10: Thomas Sankara 3

Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara: An African Revolutionary
Sacrifice to Greatness
Sankara sold all the government fleet of Mercedes car and made the Renault 5 (cheapest car in Burkina Faso then) the official car of the ministers.

He reduced the salaries of public servants that were rich enough including his own and banned first class airline tickets and use of government chauffeurs.

He stopped tribute payments to feudal landlords and distributed their lands among the poor making the country self-sufficient in food.

He disallowed foreign aid to his country with the belief that ‘He who feeds you controls you’.

He spoke against the techniques used by foreign bodies which he described as neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance at the Organization of African Unity.

He persuaded African nations to come together so as to reject their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited had no reason to repay money to the rich and exploiters.

Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store at Ouagadougou to a state-owned supermarket which was opened to everyone, both poor and rich (the first supermarket in the country).

He forced the public servants that are well off to pay one month salary to public projects.

He rejected and refused to use air conditioning in his office claiming it to be a luxury that only a few of the citizens could afford.

As the President of Burkina Faso, he reduced his salary to just $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, a fridge, three guitars and a broken freezer.
Africa’s Che Guevara
Che Guavara made us understand that we could have confidence in ourselves and in our abilities. He indoctrinated us to believe that struggle is our only recourse. He has been a citizen of the free world that we are building. Therefore, we conclude that Che Guavara is an African and a Burkinabe’.

He was too good, so we killed him
It was a black and sad day for Burkina Faso and for Africa on 15 October 1987 when Sankara was killed by an armed group along with twelve other officials in a coup d’état organized by Sankara’s former colleague Blaise Campaore. A reason given by Campaore is that Sankara jeopardized the relations with former colonial power France and the neighboring Ivory Coast.

The death of Sankara was believed to be engineered by Charles Taylor (Is Africa truly cursed, are we truly cursed. How will you allow the enemies to crush your own brother just for your selfishness of being the head of state and stealing enough money to last a lifetime? This took tears from my eyes and made me believe Africa is truly Africa’s problem. We lack almost all it takes to stand alone, yet, we still run to those that left us in bondage for help. ‘He who feeds you truly controls you’.)

Reward for Good in Africa
Sankara’s body was dismembered and was immediately buried in an unmarked grave while his wife and two children fled the country. Campaore instantly reversed all Sankara’s policies; he made the country to rejoin the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank borrowing a lot of money. The dictatorship by Campaore lasted for 27 years until popular protests overthrew his government in 2014.

In October 2015, Sankara’s lawyer claimed that the body of Sankara was riddled with more than a dozen bullets.

Africa bought Slavery
Thomas Sankara

From the words of Antonio de Figuredo, ‘Africa and the world are yet to and would never recover from the assassination of Sankara just like how we are yet to recover from the loss of Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Samora Machel, Steve Biko and to the most recent John Garang. Though the malevolent forces did not use the same methods to eliminate these great pan-Africanists, the same motive has guided them: to keep Africa in chains’.

After 22 years Sankara was assassinated, he was commemorated on 15 October 2007 in ceremonies across Burkina Faso, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Burundi, France, Tanzania, Canada and the United States.

That was how Africa bought slavery at a cheap price in the world market. As simply put by Thomas Sankara, 'he who feeds you controls you'.

‘If Africa refused to repudiate colonial slavery, its high time individual be delivered from mental slavery’.
Thank you Sankara, some of us admire your strength and the fight you gave for Africa’s independence. More than 27 years after, we are yet to have the African independence you ever fought for, mental slavery is yet to leave us and we still run at the mercy of those that kept us in bondage. Truly we offended you, we never understood what you stood for, but one day, I believe another replica of your soul will rise to deliver Africa from ‘suffering and smiling’ Fela shouted about.

The enemies of a people are those who keep them in ignorance
'When in a town they close the doors of justice, they open the doors of the Revolution' - Práxedes Sagasta 
Thomas Sankara

Inspiration from Wikipedia
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  1. I wish African leaders would have the same vision as Thomas Sankara, he was not perfect, but he had his people at heart.