Episode #114: Long Live Thomas Sankara, hero of Burkina Faso, ”Land of the upright people”!
In this episode of Black Power Talks we uplift the legacy of the martyred revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, the president of Burkina Faso. Sankara was killed 35 years ago on October 15, 1987, at the age of 37. His assassins were tried and convicted in 2022.
Sankara gave Burkina Faso its name, which means "land of the upright or incorruptible people."
Sankara’s program challenged French colonialism and neocolonial policies in Africa with policies focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nationwide literacy campaign and promoting public health. Sankara built schools, health centers, water reservoirs, and railways. He combatted desertification, redistributed land, eliminated poll taxes and rent. He created policies that overturned the oppression of women and elevated the role of women in the Burkinabe government and military.
Sankara is loved by the African working class, affectionately known as the African Che Guevarra although his reach is even further than that. Sankara’s legacy has fueled a generation of anticolonial activity on the continent and throughout the African world.
We talk with Cinque Brath, the co-founder and president of the Elombe Brath Foundation, about the work of his father to build African anti colonial resistance. As a young man, Elombe was a member of the African National Pioneers Movement led by Carlos Cooks, and understudy of Marcus Garvey. Elombe co-founded the African Jazz Art Society and Studios, a significant front that re-claimed Jazz as an African art, and co-founded the Patrice Lumumba Coalition which organized a cultural boycott against apartheid in the 1980s and 1990s.
This episode of Black Power Talks is hosted by Dr. Matsemela Odom. The show is produced by Black Power 96.3 FM radio in St. Petersburg, Florida. www.blackpower96.org.