This human being, this vast and complex combination of pain and joy; solitary and forsaken, yet creator of all humanity; suffering, frustrated, and humiliated, and yet endless source of happiness for each one of us; this source of courage; this being called weak, but possessing untold ability to inspire us to take the road of honor; this being, women, is you! You are our source of comfort and life companions, our comrades in struggle, who, because of this fact, should by rights assert yourselves as equal partners in the joyful victory feasts of the revolution.
Title: Women’s Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle
Author: Thomas Sankara
Category: Non- fiction
This review is long overdue! And so will the many that will follow it lol. I read this book when we crossed over to 2018 and to be honest I never knew that there ever lived an African man in the 80’s who saw the need for women emancipation. Worse off, I never knew much about Thomas Sankara other than him being a Burkina Faso revolutionary. I continue questioning the authenticity and grounds of my country’s school curriculum. How in the world will they miss to include such important historical information in the syllabus? Is it because we’ve been belittled to conform and conditioned to embrace patriarchy? The level of misogyny out here baffles me!
As described from the introduction, this book is centered in a speech by Thomas Sankara to a rally of several thousands of women in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s Capital city when commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8, 1987. Timely speech, perfect timing don’t you think? This among other reasons makes me admire and wish Thomas Sankara was still alive to date.
In his speech, Thomas Sankara stresses on the need of women being respected and treated equally as their counterparts, men, something you wouldn’t have imagined a man of his time will be so passionate about. I’m not saying that things have changed that much now, but, wouldn’t the world…, wouldn’t Africa specifically be a better place for women should Thomas Sankara’s assassination hadn’t taken place?
This is a leader who saw the worth of women and didn’t fail to be vocal about it. A leader who was ready to put his life on the line to see to the empowerment of women. A selfless man who went against the norm to address the oppression women faced. To prove that men are equally accountable for women’s well-being in the society. He was bold enough to prove to the world that men in our societies, could rise up to the occasion when it comes to addressing sensitive topics (at the time).
Reading through this book it is clear enough that Thomas Sankara held the subject of femininity with great regard and seriousness that it deserved to be looked into. His speech was not short of women’s liberation; women’s empowerment through education, job opportunities, holding influential positions in the government; it was a speech that challenged women to rise against the societal conformity and claim their place and respect. For women to deviate from the medieval standards and go for what best suits them rather than settling for what society thinks is best for them.
‘We must say again to our sisters that marriage if it brings society nothing positive and does not bring them happiness, is not indispensable and should even be avoided’
This book left me challenged, empowered and charged up to take the world as a woman. Burkina Faso has got to be the luckiest country in Africa to be led by such an intelligent man even if for a short while. Thomas Sankara went down in history as one of the most vocal leaders who didn’t relent when duty came calling. He was ready to lead by example and his lessons live and linger for decades later. He stood against bad leadership and women’s prejudice which I highly applaud him for. And to think he shared the same sentiments with Fidel Castro, gets me hopeful, that one day, women are going to hold the positions that they truly deserve in our societies.
It’s frightening to think that today, such a leader is hard to come by but the fact that we have international institutions in place that pride themselves in empowering and being the voice the women, one can only pray that the day gets here tomorrow. It’s a struggle, yes, but we’ll eventually get there.
Viva Thomas Sankara! Even though I get to know this side of you now, am grateful that you went down history having left a positive impact in our lives, and notes where we can always draw references from. You are a HERO of all times!!
This being a month of celebrating the powerhouse that is women (FemmeMarch), which similar related books would you recommend?