External Affairs

Thomas Sankara on the Debt Crisis: A Speech to Remember a Great African Leader By

Thomas Sankara (December 21, 1949 – October 15, 1987) was one of the most remarkable African leaders of the 20th century, a young soldier who led a revolution in Burkina Faso and proceeded to build a self-reliant, egalitarian economy and society that was a model for the continent. In July 1987, still in his fourth year in power, he delivered a powerful speech on the debt crisis and neocolonialism at the summit of the Organisation of African Unity (as the AU was then called) in Addis Ababa.

Shortly thereafter, he was overthrown in a coup by Blaise Compaore, who promptly reversed Sankara’s revolutionary policies with the backing of the International Monetary Fund, France and the United States.

On his birth anniversary, The Wire brings you a video recording of Sankara’s electrifying speech.