Category Archives: Burkina Faso: Searching For Sankara

The Performance Of ‘Democracy’

The elections went off without a hitch. The polling stations opened on time, the people walked, waiting and cast their ballots. The observers and monitors performed their responsibilities. The election commission provided all the necessary facilities, services, support, guidance, training and management needed to complete the process. Civic groups remained vigilant, and some like Le Balai […]

A Revolution Or A Revolving Door?

In November 2015, months after the ouster of Blaise Campaoré, the people of Burkina Faso elected Roch Marc Christian Kaboré as President. And whereas mainstream international and local media hailed the success as a result of a ‘people’s uprising’, led by the charismatic and photogenic rappers and musicians of Le Balai Citoyen, the ascendence of Kaboré […]

Imperialism Is In The Food You Eat

’Where is imperialism?’Look at your plates when you eat. These imported grains of rice, corn, and millet – that is imperialism. Thomas Sankara “He would come on a bicycle. You could see him cycling down the main street, dressed in uniform, arriving to inspect the work.” Salvador Sylvan beams as me tells me this. Sankara’s […]

An Odyssey Towards Respect–Art Melody’s Search For Freedom

Art Melody asks that we meet on his small plot of vegetable farm land on the outskirts of Ouagadougou. “It is where I go to do my writing.” He tells me in his gruff voice. “Where I feel most free.” When I arrive for our scheduled meetings, I see him, and his friends Jacques, ankle […]

Reggae Prophets And Revolution

I am a Rastaman from a fairyland They steal and empty the safes In absolute impunity Their children show off money in bars and wash their shoes with champagne Rasta from a country where everything is fine They build roads, bridges, schools that stand for just 2 months and fall apart In the meantime our […]

The Many Uses Of Thomas Sankara

What has achieved on October 21, 2014, was no small miracle, and undoubtably the result of decades of determined, courageous and inspiring dissent and resistance by the people of Burkina Faso against the regime of Blaise Campaoré. This uprising was only the latest of a number of attempts the people of the country have made […]

They Called Them ‘Riots’, And The People ‘Rioters’

There have been outbreaks of violence against Mr. Compaoré at least six other times since 1999, most recently in 2011, with government buildings defaced and protesters taking to the streets. Mr. Compaoré has always managed to stay in office through a combination of negotiation, conciliation and restrained use of firepower. The New York Times, October […]

The Birth Of A Network–Guy Kam And The Intellectuals

Me Guy Hervé Kam is a former magistrate and a lawyer, who trained at the University of Ouagadougou and has a specialised degree in human rights from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. A man of sophistication and confident comportment, he carries himself with the air of casual confidence mixed with subtle aloofness. So what was he […]

Cinema As An Act Of Resistance

On 16 December 1998, around 20,000 people accompanied Norbert Zongo to his final resting place in Ouagadougou. The funeral cortege was over 10 kilometers long. “We left the mortuary at 10AM and we arrived at 4PM at the cemetery”, remembered Abdoulaye Diallo, coordinator of  the Norbert Zongo Press Centre. [Soré, 2008] I am sitting with […]

Death Of A Native Son

We must dare to invent the future. Thomas Sankara [2007a, 141-144] On the night of October 15, 1987, in a cemetery on the outskirts of the city of Ouagadougo, a group of soldiers arrive by truck, and begin frantically digging in the earth. Their bodies attack the hard ground with shovels, as other men stand […]