August 5 – Independence Day in Burkina Faso

Posted on August 5, 2015

Way back in 2010, I wrote about Burkina Faso's Republic Day

At that point, the Republic of Burkina Faso wasn't as much of a republic as its name suggested. A republic is a nation in which the power of governance is held by the people and their elected representatives. However, Burkina Faso had at that time a leader who had ousted the former president through military force – what is called a coup d'état. And the new president, Blaise Compaoré ruled non-stop from 1987 until 2014 – that's 27 years of unbroken power!

I'm not positive if there were truly free elections during all these 27 years, but I did read that it was widespread protests, not a peaceful election, that finally drove Compaoré out of office.

Less than a year ago, in October of 2014, demonstrations and riots broke out in protest over changing a law about term limits so that President Compaoré could continue in office. After protestors burned government buildings, Compaoré decided to dissolve the government and declared a state of emergency. He even fled to a neighboring country, Ivory Coast.

But he refused to resign the presidency.

At the end of the month (10/31/14), Compaoré finally bowed to the pressure and resigned. Now there is a transition government, and there are plans for an election this October – actually, on my birthday, October 11, 2015!

By the way...

A scene from the capital
  • Today is considered Burkina Faso's Independence Day because, on this date in 1960, the Republic of Upper Volta won its full independence from France. Almost exactly 24 years later, the nation changed its name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso.
  • The name for the people of this nation is Burkinabé.
  • The capital city, Ouagadougou, means literally “You are welcome here at home with us.”

Here are some wonderful sights to see in Burkina Faso:

The stone tours of Sindou Peaks

Bobo Diolasso Grand Mosque

Hopefully this lake / tower / housing / offices complex is being built. It is called the Tena Tower Project, and it is a really environmentally-forward-thinking design by architect Manuelle Gautrand.

Banfora Natural Waterfall

Houses of the Gourounsi people


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