Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 12, 2013

Why the name: Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Flag of Burkina Faso

Flag of Burkina Faso

Have you ever wondered about the name of the country Burkina Faso?  Why would a country have two names, i.e. Burkina and then Faso?  or even simply two names in its history: Upper Volta and then Burkina Faso?  Well, the country named Upper Volta was given a new name in 1984 by then President Thomas Sankara, who chose the name Burkina Faso.

Flag of Upper Volta

Flag of Upper Volta

Originally, Haute Volta or Upper Volta, was just given by the European colonizer, the French, more as an indicator or geographic pointer, and had no real attachment to the people of that region themselves.  Thus Upper Volta was named for the region above the Volta river flowing in the area; the people of that country/area where thus known as the ‘Voltaics’ (Voltaiques in French).  Since the river had three tributaries: the Black Volta, the white Volta, and the red Volta, Upper Volta’s flag also had those three colors.  The Volta river also flew into Ghana, which was never known as the ‘Lower Volta’.  No wonder the name needed to change, as it had no real meaning!

Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

Well, on 4 August 1984, Thomas Sankara, with his usual charisma and revolutionary spirit, decided to change the country’s name to Burkina Faso.  He chose two names after two main languages of the country: the Moore (or Mossi language) and the DioulaBurkina from Mòoré means men of integrity, while Faso in Diouala means fatherland.  Thus the Burkina Faso is the land of upright people or the land of honest people.  The people of the country are known as the Burkinabé, where the suffix ‘bé’ comes from the Foufouldé language spoken by the Peulh people (a tribe found in many countries across West Africa), and means ‘men or women’.  Thus, Thomas used three of the main languages in his country to choose a name that was truly representative of the country and its people.  Sankara was then addressed as the PF or the President of the Faso.  The national cloth made up of woven strips of cotton or silk was called faso dan fani (this will be the subject for another post).

Enjoy this video, and travel to Burkina Faso, the land of the upright people.


Responses

  1. Hi, I read in the UNPCB (http://www.unpcb.org/spip.php?article260) that Faso Dan Fani factory has closed. What happened? Was it a government company?

    Cheers,
    Fernando

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  2. […] have written books, poems, and essays.  The great Thomas Sankara, our African Che and president of Burkina Faso, wrote about empowering women, people, getting away from debt, and the Burkinabé […]

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  3. […] is the complete text of a hand-written speech that the revolutionary Burkina Faso President and African statesman Thomas Sankara was set to deliver on the evening of the day he was […]

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  4. […] The country gained independence from France in 1960 and would suffer from five military coups in the first few decades that followed. It was known as Upper Volta until 1984, when it was renamed Burkina Faso, meaning “land of upright/honest people.” […]

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  5. […] The country gained independence from France in 1960 and would suffer from five military coups in the first few decades that followed. It was known as Upper Volta until 1984, when it was renamed Burkina Faso, meaning “land of upright/honest people.” […]

    Like

  6. […] The country gained independence from France in 1960 and would suffer from five military coups in the first few decades that followed. It was known as Upper Volta until 1984, when it was renamed Burkina Faso, meaning “land of upright/honest people.” […]

    Like

  7. […] The country gained independence from France in 1960 and would suffer from five military coups in the first few decades that followed. It was known as Upper Volta until 1984, when it was renamed Burkina Faso, meaning “land of upright/honest people.” […]

    Like

  8. […] The country gained independence from France in 1960 and would suffer from five military coups in the first few decades that followed. It was known as Upper Volta until 1984, when it was renamed Burkina Faso, meaning “land of upright/honest people.” […]

    Like

  9. […] murderer taught that he will be eternal in power, and on October 30th 2014, the people of Burkina Faso said […]

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  10. […] murderer taught that he will be eternal in power, and on October 30th 2014, the people of Burkina Faso said […]

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  11. […] on Afrolegends.com has tripled, the number of visitors on the blog has doubled, the article Burkina Faso was cited by TIME Magazine online, while the article La SAPE was cited by The Guardian, and many […]

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  12. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and may come back in the future.
    I want to encourage continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

    Like

  13. […] at its usual, since the overthrowing of Blaise Compaoré, but it still took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and brought in some great African films and […]

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  14. […] by Christophe Cupelin, which was shown this year at the FESPACO 2015 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This is the first time a movie about Thomas Sankara, the African Che, could be shown at the […]

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  15. I like the story of the country

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    • Me too. Thank you for visiting the blog. Keep coming, sharing, and commenting.

      Like

  16. […] Jump up^ https://afrolegends.com/2013/09/12/why-the-name-burkina-faso/ […]

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