Thursday, 13 October 2016

SO KOKO Life Topics | Black History Month Special : Burkina Faso | Power to the People

One of the youngest and greatest leaders in Africa

Many of times, we associate African leaders with corruption, greed and just a lack of regard for the people - And we wouldn't be wrong with so many examples in our recent history. In fact for most, the only 'good' leader noted universally is Nelson Mandela.

This week's #LifeTopic highlights another good leader in Thomas Sankara, one who speaks to African History and to Africa's future.

He became president at age 33. Saturday (15th October) will mark 29 years since the day Captain Thomas Sankara was assassinated. But to quote him ,

"While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas"

Here are just 7 of the many things he did in FOUR YEARS, transforming the former French colony of Upper Volta into Burkina Faso - the 'Land of Upright Men'

  • 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 initiated a nation-wide literacy campaign, increasing the literacy rate from 13% in 1983 to 73% in 1987.
  • He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in three years from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient.
  • He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy.
  • He appointed women to high governmental positions and encouraged them to work outside the home 
  • He vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles in a matter of weeks.
  • He planted over 10 million trees to prevent desertification

It seems alien, it seems surreal, but this was just 29 years ago. Thomas Sankara used power to serve the people.

How do you use the little or vast power that you have? What transformations will you make in the next four years? Would it benefit you alone or the world around you?

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