PEN Kenya invites you to a reading to commemorate the life of the famous Pan-African leader Thomas Sankara this Wednesday the 21st of December at Wasanii Restaurant at the Kenya National Theatre from 5.30pm. The event marks the 24th anniversary of his death. Please come with poetry, essays or writings about anything that you are passionate about, or that stokes your revolutionary fires.
Thomas Sankara was a young revolutionary leader from Burkina Faso who became president of his country at the age of 33 but was assasinated four years later. He was the rare courageous African leader that stood up to IMF and the World Bank in the 1980s, preaching self-sufficiency when around him many other African leaders were simply profiting from the exploitation of their people or taking part in it and bleeding their country’s dry. When he became president he sold off all the ministerial mercedes’s and big cars and exchanged them with Volkswagen Beetles. He was such a powerful mobilizing force and he instigated a scheme where Burkina Faso citizens would take part in voluntary projects after work. ie- taking part in building the railway, building roads and other practical projects. While by no means a perfect man, he is for many an inspiration for his radical intellectual thought and is today mentioned in the same breathe with Amilcar Cabral among others. He died almost poor, his ethos being not about looting but about giving all he could to his people.
Sankara was an extremely charismatic, intellectual, proactive and courageous individual. Some of these youtube clips show him in action: