The late President Thomas Sankara Photo: Courtesy
Thomas Sankara was so beloved by his people that even after he died, a note was left at his graveside reading, "Do Not Worry, Mama Sankara, we will avenge the death of your son. We are all Sankara's!"
Sankara had a brief but eventful life. He was born in December 1949 and died at the age of 38 in October 1987. Sankara was President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.
When he came to power, the country was known as Upper Volta, but he changed the name to Burkina Faso, which means 'A Land of Upright People.' Thomas Sankara was an upright man by all standards. He believed in equality. He was such a strong supporter of equality that he acted like a strong feminist who would always defend women's rights.
Sankara was not quite satisfied with what was happening in the country at the time. Too many things were going wrong. He Invited 13 others to the national headquarters so that they could discuss the way forward. But it turned out that would be the last meeting.
They had barely begun the meeting when gunshots were heard outside at 4:30 p.m.
Two of Thomas Sankara's personal bodyguards and his personal driver were the first to die on that fateful day.
The shooting continued, and everyone in the meeting had no choice but to take cover. Sankara immediately thought of a way to save the lives of everyone in the room. His aide was still by his side at the time, and he famously said, "Step Aside, It is me they want."
With both hands raised and no weapons on him, he went out to meet those whose sole purpose was to assassinate him. As soon as he stepped outside, it appears that the sight of Thomas Sankara enraged the killers even more, as they riddled his body with hot bullets.
If what he did was to save those in the room, if he thought that after the killers had murdered him, they would leave, he was wrong. The killers went to the meeting room and sprinkled bullets as if they were in a movie, and everyone died that day except for a certain Alouna Traore, whose longtime friend and colleague Blaise Compaore would take over after Sankara's death.
It was a clear case of betrayal on Compaore's part because he assassinated Sankara; he denied his involvement in the killings, claiming that he was at home at the time and that he was very sick, but all evidence to the fact that he gave the order to kill Sankara pointed to him.
But all evidence showed that he gave the orders for those trigger happy men to kill Sankara. And as if that wasn't enough, he assumed Sankara's Position after his death, he had been in on the plan the whole time.
What's more perplexing is that when Sankara and Compaore first met in Morocco, they struck up an instant friendship and seemed inseparable. As a result, when Sankara became President, he appointed Compaore as his Deputy, but it was a fatal decision that would cut not only his political life but also his true existence.
In April this year, three decades after the death of Sankara, former president Compaoré was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Sankara.