The three day African tour by French President Emmanuel Macron did not start well. The French president arrived to the news of a grenade targeted at French soldiers, and the renaming of the Charles de Gaulle Avenue to Thomas Sankara Boulevard. Macron kicked off his Africa tour in Burkina Faso, a former French colony.
Recent years has seen the spirit, words and past actions of Sankara galvanizing the people of Burkina Faso. There has been clamour for the French to release files on the assassination. In the 60s, many African francophone countries experienced series of coups backed by the French.
Burkinabes in a popular uprising in 2014 removed Blaise Compaore from office. Compaore had been president for 27 years, accused of being complicit in the assassination of Sankara, former Burkina Faso president. The assassination of Sankara took place 30 years ago and the role of France in Sankara’s death is still questionable.
Youths in #Burkina Faso have renamed the former colonial master Charles DeGaule Avenue to Thomas Sankara on this symbolic day of French president @EmmanuelMacron 's visit. #Sankara #Africa #Faso pic.twitter.com/hvjTnUQvaq
— Farida Nabourema (@Farida_N) November 27, 2017
The administration of the Francophone countries using the assimilation and association method put the French culture ahead of all others. The effect of that method was white men in black skins. Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is a strong voice in the decolonisation of the mind. In his lecture at the University of Cape Town earlier in the year, he called for the renaming of the South African city of East London after the late great African scholar Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi.
The vestiges of colonialism surround us and the task of decolonisation is taking place gradually. Frantz Fanon in his book Concerning Violence, defined decolonisation as the replacing of certain ‘species’ of men by another ‘species’ of men.
One of the greatest post-colonial tasks Africans have on their hands is decolonisation.