Thomas Sankara: the Speech he would have given on 15 Oct 1987

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

Here 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 assassinated, October 15, 1987.  Enjoy this rare jewel!  The original in French is on, while the translated English version appeared on Pambazuka.


Dear Comrades,

The Revolution’s prestige, and the confidence with which the masses have devoted themselves, has suffered a serious shock. The consequences are a remarkable decline in enthusiasm for the revolution amongst activists, a serious decrease in the commitment, determination, and mobilization of our grassroots base; finally, distrust and suspicion everywhere and factionalism amongst our leadership.

What are the causes of this?

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

There are, on one hand, significant questions which could divide us pertaining to the operating structures and the internal functioning of the CNR based on ideological positions.  On the other hand, there are questions regarding the relationships between the principal actors, as each of us is a leader.  However, as important as ideological and organisational questions are, they are shown to be less important in our current situation.  Indeed, at the soul of any organisation, there is a clash of opposites followed by union of these same oppositesThe unity of these opposites is always academic, it is never absolute; it is both relative and temporary.  “The unity of opposites is consequently an absolute, exactly as development and motion are absolutes”.  This is why balance itself is temporary.  It can be questioned at any time.  It is our responsibility to preserve it as long as possible, to restore it each time it has been threatened or broken.  In the case of organizational and ideological questions, we have benefited each time that someone considered it necessary to raise an opinion different from mine, to defend a position different than mine; you did this with freedom and confidence.  These I have adopted and implemented, along with advice, suggestions, and recommendations. Moreover, resolution of disputes between men is always simple when trust exists.  This means that as long as the revolution is governed by principles, open debate, criticism and self-criticism, it will succeed in resolving any misunderstandings, provided that trust is maintained. Continue reading “Thomas Sankara: the Speech he would have given on 15 Oct 1987”