Thomas Sankara in His Own Words

Sankara_We are heirs of the worlds revolution
“We are heirs of the revolution” by Thomas Sankara

If you take a walk around Ouagadougou and make a list of the mansions you see, you will note that they belong to just a minority. How many of you who have been assigned to Ouagadougou from the farthest corners of the country have had to move every night because you’ve been thrown out of the house you have rented? To those who have acquired houses and land through corruption we say: start to tremble. If you have stolen, tremble, because we will come after you”. March 26, 1983 

Aid to Burkina Faso must serve to strengthen not undermine, our sovereignty.” August 1984

Any African Head of State who comes to New York must first pass through Harlem. This is why we consider that our White House is in Black Harlem.” October 2, 1984

Our ancestors in Africa were actively committed to a certain form of development. We do not want these great African wisemen to be assassinated. 2 octobre 1984 à Harlem

We propose that the structures of the UN be changed to put an end to the scandal surrounding the right to vetoOctober 4, 1984

The greatest difficulty we have faced is the neocolonial spirit that exists in this country. We were colonized by a country, France that left us with certain habits. For us, being successful in life, being happy, meant trying to live as they do in France, like the richest of the French.” March 17, 1985

Sankara_Women's liberationWe have to work at decolonizing our mentality and achieving happiness within the limits of sacrifice we should be willing to make. We have to recondition our people to accept themselves as they are, to not be ashamed of their real situation, to be satisfied with it, to glory in it, even.1985

We need the new school and the new teaching to concur with the birth of patriots and not stateless people. Putting a child in school should stop being conceived as a simple accounting investment, if indeed the ongoing transformation of societies which fall on successive generations has quantifiable elements and non-quantifiable. 17 october 1986 Appel de Gaoua on the quality of education.

We too are actors in the international arena, and we have the right to choose a political and economic system true to our aspirations. We have the duty to fight for a more just and more peaceful world, regardless of the fact that we have neither large industrial cartels nor nuclear weapons”. August 27, 1987

It is always at the side of a woman that we become men again, and every man is a child for every woman.” March 8, 1987

There are no true social revolution until the woman is liberated. May my eyes never see a society where half of the people is maintained under silence. I hear the racket of this silence of women, I suspect the roar of their storm, I feel the fury of their revolt. I wait and hope for the fertile irruption of the revolution for which they will translate the force and rigorous righteousness coming from their oppressed bowels. 8 mars 1987, Ouagadougou

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

“The people’s democratic revolution needs a people that is confident and not defeated, a people of conviction and not a subjected people who suffer their fate.” 4 août 1987

I have told myself, either I’ll finish up an old man somewhere in a library reading books, or I’ll meet with a violent end, since we have so many enemies. Once you’ve accepted that reality, it’s just a question of time. It will happen today or tomorrow.October 8th, 1987

One week after Thomas Sankara made this last remark, he was murdered.

Homeland or death, we will triumph!

These quotes can be found in the book “Thomas Sankara speaks” by Pathfinder Press (1988).

3 thoughts on “Thomas Sankara in His Own Words

  1. These are some very inspirational quotes from Thomas Sankara. Thank you for sharing them.

    Interestingly enough, I saw an article the other day from The African Dream that involves someone critiquing The Lion King from an African perspective and made an interpretation of that movie being a pro-colonial piece and Sankara was mentioned for an example: https://theafricandream.info/the-lion-king-movie-viewed-from-an-african-perspective-adaptations-with-classic-examples/

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    1. Thanks for sharing Ospreyshire. I read the piece… it is an interesting article, and an interesting angle to consider, even though it could be reading too much into the Lion King with the light lions and the dark ones… but Hollywood has been cunning us with a lot of subtle messages like that, that it would not be so surprising if it was revealed to be true. However, the piece needs more meat, for instance, giving real examples of dark lions in place of the hyenas (and there are countless ones on the continent) to match exactly the author’s similitude with the movie, instead of trying to use Sankara and Lumumba to make a point that is not illustrated in the movie.

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      1. You’re welcome. I thought you might find it to be interesting because I’ve never seen this interpretation before. I know you know my observations about that movie like how the hyenas play up anti-Black and anti-Latinx stereotypes or how the elephant graveyard had disturbing similarities to actual genocides (Shark Island in Namibia was a big one for me after watching the Namibian Genocide documentary), so I won’t repeat myself too much and that’s not even getting into the plagairism issues regarding a certain anime and a song.

        I agree that Hollywood can be very subtle with these kind of messages. Thanks for your insight. I could see some of the arguments with the pro-colonialism aspects even if I wasn’t thinking about those cases, but you do bring up some points of some arguments needing to be stronger. The Lumumba parallels were a bit of a stretch, but at least I could see some of the logic there.

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