8 famous people you did not know are from Burkina Faso

Mildred Europa Taylor Aug 5, 2019 at 10:00am

August 05, 2019 at 10:00 am | Opinions & Features

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Associate Editor

August 05, 2019 at 10:00 am | Opinions & Features

The award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso, became the first African architect to design the prestigious Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Central London in 2017. Pic credit:

A small, landlocked, poor country, Burkina Faso was formerly known as Upper Volta and was once part of French West Africa from 1896 until 1960 when it gained its independence on this day.

History says the first people to settle in the area are the Mossi people in the 11th and 13th century. They established powerful kingdoms such as the Ouagadougou, Tenkodogo, and Yatenga and these kingdoms became centres of the trans-Saharan trade.

These kingdoms would also resist conquest by the Mali and Songhay Empires. In 1890, however, the area, now known as Burkina Faso, would be colonised by the French who rewrote the borders.

The country would later march towards independence under a Mossi dominated party. On August 5, 1960, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) became independent but went through many abrupt changes, including five military coups and a change in name to Burkina Faso (which means Land of Incorruptible People) in 1984.

Despite its significant reserves of gold, the country remains largely poor as concerns rise over the state of its economy and human rights. Nevertheless, in the midst of these challenges, Burkina Faso has produced global icons who have put the country on the map.

Here are some popular people you probably did not know are from Burkina Faso:

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