BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Thomas Sankara
|President of Burkina Faso|
4 August 1983 – 15 October 1987
|Preceded by||Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo|
|Succeeded by||Blaise Compaoré|
|Prime Minister of Upper Volta|
10 January 1983 – 17 May 1983
|Preceded by||Saye Zerbo|
|Succeeded by||Youssouf Ouédraogo|
|Born||21 December 1949|
Yako, French West Africa
(Now Burkina Faso)
|Died||15 October 1987 (age 37)|
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
|“||Our revolution in Burkina Faso draws on the totality of man's experiences since the first breath of humanity. We wish to be the heirs of all the revolutions of the world, of all the liberation struggles of the peoples of the Third World. We draw the lessons of the American revolution. The French revolutiontaught us the rights of man. The great October revolution brought victory to the proletariat and made possible the realization of the Paris Commune's dreams of justice.||”|
— Thomas Sankara, October 1984 
|“||Our country produces enough to feed us all. Alas, for lack of organization, we are forced to beg for food aid. It’s this aid that instills in our spirits the attitude of beggars.||”|
— Thomas Sankara 
Health care and public works
People's Revolutionary Tribunals
Revolutionary Defense Committees
|“||The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky.||”|
— Thomas Sankara 
Second Agacher strip war
Human Rights and Alleged Violations
|Year||Political Rights||Civil Liberties||Status|
Personal image and popularity
- He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
- He reduced the salaries of well-off public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
- He redistributed land from the feudal landlords to the peasants. Wheat production increased from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient.
- He opposed foreign aid, saying that "he who feeds you, controls you."
- He spoke in forums like the Organization of African Unity against what he described as neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance.
- He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting.
- In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army's provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).
- He forced well-off civil servants to pay one month's salary to public projects.
- He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.
- As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.
- A motorcyclist himself, he formed an all-women motorcycle personal guard.
- He required public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen.
- He was known for jogging unaccompanied through Ouagadougou in his track suit and posing in his tailored military fatigues, with his mother-of-pearl pistol.
- When asked why he didn't want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, Sankara replied "There are seven million Thomas Sankaras."
- An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself.
"Africa's Che Guevara"
|“||Che Guevara taught us we could dare to have confidence in ourselves, confidence in our abilities. He instilled in us the conviction that struggle is our only recourse. He, was a citizen of the free world that together we are in the process of building. That is why we say that Che Guevara is also African and Burkinabè.||”|
— Thomas Sankara 
List of works
- Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution, 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder Press, 1988, ISBN 0-87348-527-0
- We Are the Heirs of the World's Revolutions: Speeches from the Burkina Faso Revolution 1983–87, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder Press, 2007, ISBN 0-87348-989-6
- Women's Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle, by Thomas Sankara, Pathfinder Press, 1990, ISBN 0-87348-585-8