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A short Biography of Thomas Sankara, former president of Burkina Faso…

    • Born in 1949 into the country known as Upper Volta.
    • Followed a career in the military rising to the rank of captain.
    • Led a coup d’etat against the government.
    • Became head of state in 1983.
    • Renamed the country Burkina Faso meaning “Land of Upright People”.
    • Despised development aid because it led to dependence and external domination.
    • Refused to listen to the World Bank and IMF describing them as “charlatans trying to sell development models that have all failed”.
    • Launched the most ambitious program of social and economic change ever seen on the African continent.
    • Paid himself $450 a month and refused air conditioning on the grounds that most of his countrymen could not afford it.
    • Would not let his portrait be hung in his office or public places
    • Was a fitness fanatic who was regularly seen jogging unaccompanied on the streets of Ouagadougou
    • Assassinated October 15th 1987 at the age of 37
    • At the time of his death all he had was an average house with an outstanding mortgage, $350 in the bank, some bikes and guitars.

Famous Sankara Quotes

1) “He who feeds you, controls you”

2) “…welfare and aid policies have only ended up disorganizing us, subjugating us, and robbing us of a sense of responsibility for our own economic, political, and cultural affairs. We chose to risk new paths to achieve greater well-being.”

3) “We cannot transform society while maintaining domination and discrimination against women who constitute over half of the population.”

4) “debt is a cleverly managed reconquest of Africa. It is a reconquest that turns each one of us into a financial slave.”

5) “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.” (one week before his death).

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