Burkina Faso has embarked on an important journey to honour the legacy of Captain Thomas Sankara, with the inauguration of a memorial for the revolutionary leader on the site he was murdered. The initiative which was long overdue will see a newly formed foundation headed by Ghana’s former President Jerry Rawlings receive funds for the memorial to include a museum to preserve the history, and ideals that Sankara stood for.
Captain Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, salutes 31 August 1986 upon his arrival in Harare for the 8th Summit of Non-aligned countries. Photo: ANP
Burkina Faso has embarked on an important journey to honour the legacy of Captain Thomas Sankara, with the inauguration of a memorial, a tribute to the revolutionary leader on the site he was murdered.
The initiative which was long overdue will see a newly formed foundation headed by Ghana’s former President Jerry Rawlings receive funds to build a memorial to preserve the history, and ideals that Sankara stood for.
Rawlings, a close ally of Sankara was named as the chairperson of the foundation, which will oversee the construction of the memorial, which will include a museum and is estimated to cost around U.S. $8 million, the BBC reports.
Nearly every Burkinabe love Sankara but Sankarist parties receive little support from voters. How many “real” Sankarists are in Burkina Faso ? Photo/cartoon: Darmien Glez
Captain Sankara is one of Africa’s most revered revolutionaries. He led Burkina Faso from August 1983 until his assassination on 15 October 1987.
In four years during his tenure as leader of Burkina Faso, the charismatic and outspoken revolutionary transformed the country from being a poor country, dependent on foreign aid, to an economically independent and socially progressive nation.
Sankara was killed in a coup d’etat in which President Blaise Compaore, his former comrade-in-arms, took power.
A true humanist, fervent Pan-Africanist, Sankara was unapologetically an anti-imperialist stalwart, and proponent of women’s rights.
His legacy continues to inspire a generation, and he remains one of the most extraordinary and charismatic African leaders, who strongly believed in African unity, the African liberation struggle, it’s social and economic freedom.
Members of Burkina Faso’s opposition gather at the grave of former president Thomas Sankara on October 15, 2014, on the 27th anniversary of his death. Photo: AFP/ Romaric Hien
The project has been welcomed and applauded by observers and Sankara’s admirers. The creation of the museum will be crucial to help preserve the memory of one of Africa’s heroes, which will help revive and espouse his ideas and beliefs. As Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o aptly put it “Memory is what makes us who we are” and as Sankara himself said, “while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas”.
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