Top 5 Most Celebrated African Revolutionaries

Fredrick Ngugi November 30, 2017
Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara. Photo credit: Lipstick Alley

Thomas Sankara, Burkina Faso

Viewed as a charismatic, iconic and revolutionary leader, Thomas Isidore Noel Sankara was born in December 1949 in a small village called Yako in French Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). Sankara’s star started to shine at the early stages of his life when he was named a captain in the Burkinabe military. He was less than thirty years old.

In 1983, Sankara led a popularly-supported military coup against President Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo with the aim of fighting corruption and continued supremacy of the former French colonial power. Immediately after his successful outer of President Ouedraogo, Sankara launched an ambitious program for social and economic transformation, even renaming the country from the colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means “Land of the Upright Man”.

His revolutionary approach to issues made him an icon to many Africans, especially the poor people. But he was soon overthrown and executed by President Blaise Compaore in 1987.


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