Why is ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’ still so popular?


Alan Kasujja BBC Africa Daily podcast

What is it about Thomas Sankara – dubbed “Africa’s Che Guevara” – that makes him so influential on the continent more than three decades after his death?

Known for both his charisma and revolutionary politics, he became president of Burkina Faso in 1983 and had an auspicious vision for his country.

“He was a pan-Africanist who spoke out against neo-colonialism and powerful Western leaders,” says the BBC’s James Copnall. “He had no fear.”

In 1987, Sankara was killed in the presidential palace in the capital, Ouagadougou.

For years, his supporters have accused his successor, Blaise Compaoré, of being involved in the murder – an allegation that Mr Compaoré denies.

And yet, Sankara’s message lived on and after all these years, many young Africans still look up to him.

“To eliminate corruption, you have to start with yourself,” says Burkinabe rapper Smockey. “Sankara died and he had nothing, only a little house. He had a bike, a guitar, and that’s it.”