26 October 2011
Let it be said, some people are ignorant. When students are ignorant, let it be said that someone, apart from them, failed somehow (we shall return to this later). I hate ignorance, it is sickening, despicable and ghastly to say the least. I don’t identify nor surround myself with ignorant people. I lose quick interest once I discover that a female of interest knows nothing but her nails.
I mean, who would want children mothered by an ignorant bamboozle? What becomes of children born of an ignorant mother? It is the same with boys, I would discourage my lady friends from romancing an ignorant male. So you cannot be ignorant and if you are, you are a disgrace to the past, present and future of our country. Confucius, China’s famous political theorist (551-497 BC), had cautioned us that, “ignorance is the night of the mind, a night without moon or star.”
The defeat of ignorance will deliver a picture as drawn by Seneca, Roman philosopher of the mid 1st century AD, that “ignorant people see life as either existence or non-existence, but wise men see it beyond both existence and non-existence to something that transcends them both; this is an observation of the Middle Way.”
I had stated that when students are ignorant, someone failed. This is to mean that someone someplace somewhere is responsible for what became of that student. So today, I am taking a responsibility, as your teacher, to teach you about a man like none other, a man named Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara. Sankara was a military captain that captured power through a 1983 revolution.
He was 33 at the time. Corruption and French domination was a culture before he took power, but this he set to change. He changed the name of his country from Upper Volta (named by the French) to Burkina Faso, which means the land of upright men.
He started a very clear programme for economic emancipation and radical change no African leader has done. Dear students, we are talking about a revolutionary and not your customary African stomach president. Sankara was a Marxist revolutionary, a Pan-Africanist and a strong charismatic iconic figure of the true black revolution.
Sankara’s foreign policy was not to attract foreign investment or the so-called economic diplomacy, his was clear on anti-imperialism and self-reliance. The World Bank and International Monetary Bank (IMF) were told where to get off by this true black revolutionary.
Sankara did not leave land and the economy to whites and multinational companies, he nationalized all land and mineral wealth. Sankara did not leave children to die of hunger and diseases in villages and informal settlements, he focused on fighting famine with his agrarian self-sufficiency.
This revolutionary vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, measles and yellow fever. When climate change, desertification, etc. impacts were known by all, Sankara did not only wait on sending ministers to attend meetings, he planted more than 10 million trees.
Sankara did not buy new Mercedes Benz, in fact, he sold the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made Renault 5 to be the official car. Let it be known that the Renault 5 was the cheapest car sold in that country at the time. Sankara did not constantly increase salaries of politicians, in fact, he reduced salaries (he reduced his salary, as President, to only $450).
Sankara never believed that production can only be realized by the private sector, in fact, he distributed land evenly which saw the production of wheat increasing from 1 700 kg per hectare to 3 800 kg per hectare, in three years.
Sankara did not build expensive palaces nor surrounded himself with luxuries, in fact, he is said to have refused air-condition in his office because such luxury was not available to all.
Sankara did not buy himself an aircraft costing millions, in fact, he had one car, only four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer. Sankara did not oppose programmes for black emancipation, in fact, he was a true black leader that stood for true black liberation.
Sankara was too good to be true. The white men would not allow a darkie to continue setting such bad example to others.
Any black President that commits to liberate black people must not be tolerated.
Black presidents that side with the white men are awarded high rankings and Nobel Peace Prizes. Andile Mngxitama, in his article in the Sowetan of October 19 2010, takes up a story of what they did to this black liberator when he writes that, “On October 15 1987 in Burkina Faso, the enemies of Africa opened fire and killed one of the most brilliant of our African leaders.
“The media, academy and even the arts world have not raised the name of Sankara, precisely because his example threatens the interests of those who are against the genuine development of Africa.
“Sankara had to be killed because if they didn’t, the African masses would have known that change can happen in their interests and they would have demanded that all their countries be run like Burkina Faso.”
Since you are slow students, I would need to inform you that what brother Andile Mngxitama is telling us is the known history of the overthrow of Sankara by the French when they used Blaise Compaoré.
I am sure that you are thinking about Sankara in mirror of the current chaos. We must remember what Sankara said before they killed him. He said “while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.” It is true, they have not killed the ideas of Sankara.
If they did, I would not be writing this teaching to you today. Sankara is absent in our stomach politicians, he is alive in me and you. Let’s be Sankaras, may there be more Sankaras. I am Sankara because Sankara lives.
‘Shaamonathana omuti nomuti’, We shall meet again
Kamati kaTate is a Community Mobilizer whose area of interest is observing Politics as both an art of the possible and as a medium of distribution of resources as to who gets what, when, where and how