“Where is imperialism?”, the President of Burkina Faso, in 1983, asked. And his people gave themselves the simple and striking answer: “you see him on your plates: imported rice, and Maize, imported millet. This is imperialism.”

The President Thomas Sankara was, the problems of the world economy described by hardly anyone as trivial as he. Similar to grip, he baptized in 1984, his country, the former French colony of Haute-Volta (upper Volta), Burkina Faso – “Land of the incorruptible”.

In Africa, loves and worships Sankara for such formulations to today – about now, at 15. October, the anniversary of his murder in 1987. Anyone who thinks Africa is progressive, quoted by Sankara. There are songs, books, Comics about him. Young people wear T-Shirts with Sankara as a soldier or as a guitarist. And although the comparison it is called “Africa’s Che Guevara”, and Yes, sometimes the “century of heroes”. In Germany and Europe, however, one has to forget the man almost.

in Africa, Che Guevara

How Che Guevara was Sankara a legend because he died young, at the age of 37. For many Africans, his death today is a tragedy. Special mailings to remind you, in some places, a “Sankara Day” is announced.

The Nigerian online newspaper “The Cable” discovered “October 15 connection – Fela and Sankara”: here, the Afro-Beat rebel Fela Kuti, the 15. October 1938, the Afro – Che, Sankara, on June 15, was born there. October 1987, died. Both men Association in addition, yet more.

“they believed in African independence”, “The” Cable, “and that the continent should not be dependent on Western governments that give with one Hand, development assistance, and with the other Africa’s natural treasures Rob”. Fela Kuti toured with his Band several times in Burkina Faso; later, he mourned in his Hit “Underground System” to Sankara.


Thomas Sankara was the son of a policeman, who had reported in the Second world war the French army; the present-day Burkina Faso, then part of France’s colonial Empire. Like his father, also Thomas opted for a military career and was trained as a captain in the air force, the paratroopers.

A musical revolutionary

It was the young officer anything other than a stubborn Commissioner’s head. On his motorcycle, he visited in his spare time, the clubs of the capital, Ouagadougou. He liked to dance, and joined the Sessions as skillfully as the guitarist for the popular Band “Tout-à-Coup Jazz” dedicated to him in the end.

As a “thinking soldier” was interested Sankara also intensive for policy, Africa, colonial history, and Fidel Castro’s socialist Cuba. “A soldier without education,” he once said, “is a potential Criminal”.

Thomas Sankara

Sankara, who studied the 1969 policy at a military Academy in Madagascar, radicalized increasingly. In 1976, he founded with his fellow officers, Blaise Compaoré, the secret organization of the “regroupement des Officiers Communistes” (ROC). The ROC-conspirators acquisitions on 4. August 1983 areas after a bloodless coup, the Power in a country without access to the sea, with huge dry and similar problems.

Sankara was Chairman of the revolutionary Council, and the fifth President. The population welcomed the coup, mainly: The new Regime reformed surprisingly quickly and radically change the corrupt system of government. Ministers ‘ salaries have been drastically reduced, luxury limousine abolished. The policy elite had to suddenly in a small Renault 5 car to work. Also the service of flights, there was henceforth only in the tourist class. Sankara promoted the school system, leaving 2.5 million children against Meningitis, yellow fever and measles vaccination, the green belt against the advancing Sahara.

“I speak for all the women in the world

In his four years in Power, he ventured to many taboos, in order to help his country, “more freedom, more democracy, more Dignity”. So, he banned female circumcision, condemned polygamy, fought for family planning and equality.

“I speak on behalf of all the women worldwide who suffer from a System of exploitation that men have enforced,” he cried passionately in front of the UN. These were not just empty words: Unusual many positions in his government occupied Sankara with women. And while other African governments denied the existence of Aids, he warned publicly in front of the epidemic.

His most important project was to promote local small businesses. So Sankara for the processing of raw cotton, at the time the most important export commodity was, in its own country. “Faso dan fasi”, locally-woven fabrics, were compulsory for school children, soldiers, government employees. To wear “Faso dan fasi economic, cultural and political Demonstration against imperialism is,” said Sankara so programmatically, how pathetic.

brand speech, made shortly before the murder

While such measures met with wide approval, and the socialist revolutionary also many enemies. He banned trade unions and opposition parties; Sankara had seen how parties in Africa were almost always reservoirs of different ethnicities. He prefers to let Committee for the defence of the Revolution reasons.

The Western countries are outraged by Sankara, as he refused in 1987 in a famous speech before the organization for African unity, the state debt to repay – and the African heads of state urged to follow his example. “The origins of the debt are in the colonialism,” argued Sankara. We’ll pay you, will you “die”; who wants to do that, to fly obediently to the world Bank.

Three months later, Sankara and close associates were murdered in a coup. Like his friend Fela Kuti believed many Africans, the revolutionary soldier had been the victim of an “imperialist conspiracy”. As a particularly suspicious of the former colonizer was France, who decided to fell Aras had rejected politics. Other rumors suspected to be the ivory coast and Togo, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Charles Taylor’s Liberia as a mastermind.

related articles upper Volta in the freedom of swash: My car, my Radio, my gun icon Che Guevara: “His likeness is explosive” pictures of Malick Sidibé: The Africa-photographer

In Burkina, was Faso, it is undoubtedly macaws one tiger ethos comrade Blaise Campoaré, who led the overthrow and the new government was President of the Fell. Brazenly, he described himself as the heir to the Tradition of fell macaws Revolution in 1983, he had only had to “correct” – for example, because Sankara jeopardised the economic relations with friendly countries, and reportedly planned to have political opponents assassinate.

Burkina Faso fell back again in the old days, and thought patterns. Because, in truth, Campoaré cashed in almost all of the reforms fell macaws. He cooperated with the IMF and the world Bank to save the economy, he said. Until 2014 he was in office, then the people revolted after controversial changes to the Constitution against Campoaré. He fled in the face of mass demonstrations to Morocco.

Today he lives in exile in the ivory coast, Burkina Faso calls for because of the fall, Aras Dropped his extradition. Lawyers and historians want to meanwhile out in France’s national archives, whether the coup plan was orchestrated from Paris. So far, there is no access to all the files.

yearning for heroes

After his murder, Sankara, the former “comrade President”, in radio broadcasting as a traitor and a fascist reviled. For a time he actually went into oblivion. In the meantime, but the parties for the “Sankarismus argue in Burkina Faso”. And across the country, young Africans with a passion for the revolutionary, because on the continent, a great longing for heroes.

Although there is the Martyr, Patrice Lumumba, was a CIA murder plot to the victim. And, of course, Nelson Mandela, the great reconciler. But typical for Africa seem to be men like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who transformed himself from a freedom fighter to corrupt dictator, or tumbe Sergeant-types, such as Uganda’s Despot Idi Amin and Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the merciless, Emperor of Central Africa. Other politicians with courage, visions and best intentions have failed over the years to the harsh realities of the daily political business. From young people hope, unloved Altpolitiker were carriers.

This would also have macaws Declined to be able to fate. But a dazzling remains-looking man, who had understood how to inspire his country. To this day, his admirers from painting, what if… Maybe Sankara would have realized the dreams of a better Africa in fact, a little bit at least.