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Chamisa pays tribute to Thomas Sankara on 34th anniversary of his killing

“You can assassinate revolutionaries, but you cannot kill ideas,” Thomas Sankara said.

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

This past Friday marked exactly thirty-four years since the shocking killing of Burkina Faso’s then President, Thomas Sankara, described by his followers as the African Che Guevara.

Nelson Chamisa and the late Thomas Sankara
Nelson Chamisa and the late Thomas Sankara

Sankara, a Pan-African, was shot dead aged 37 by soldiers during a coup on 15 October 1987, and his close friend, Blaise Compaoré, came to power.

Compaore and 13 others have been slapped with an array of charges over the death of Sankara.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on Friday paid his tribute to the late Sankara.

“It’s 34yrs since the assassination of Thomas Sankara. Was only 37 years old. I salute this young African who loved his people and Africa. As his murder trial starts in Burkina Faso, we pray for Justice to be done. Sankara’s leadership ideas represent the potential Africa has! RIP Cde,” he said.

Few days ago, Luc Damiba, secretary general of the Thomas Sankara Memorial Committee told BBC: “For us, Sankara was a patriot. He loved his people. He loved his country. He loved Africa. He gave his life for us.”

During his youthful leadership of Burkina Faso, the country was renamed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, meaning “Land of Upright People”.

Prominent economic anthropologist, Jason Hickel said Sankara’s legacy was inspiring a new generation of revolutionary thinkers and activists in Africa and beyond.

“34 years ago today, Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso, was assassinated in a French-backed coup. He aspired to an egalitarian, feminist society, and an economy built on self-sufficiency, ecological regeneration, and independence from Western powers.

“Today, Sankara’s legacy is inspiring a new generation of revolutionary thinkers and activists across the continent and beyond. As Sankara himself put it, with uncanny prescience, ‘You can assassinate revolutionaries, but you cannot kill ideas’.

Sankara is also known for calling for a united Africa to stand against what he called the “neo-colonialism” of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, who always give credits to African countries with the aim of controlling them.

“He who feeds you, controls you,” Sankara said.

Before his assassination, Sankara pushed an anti-imperialist foreign policy which challenged the dominance of France, which had a huge influence in many of its former colonies in Africa, such as Burkina Faso. Former African colonists hated him for this. Nehanda Radio