Through his play The rise & fall of an African hero, Ricky Dujany helps rediscover the life and death of Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso (1983 -1987). The play inspired by Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, is taking place at the Cockpit Theatre in London.
Sankara brought considerable changes to mentality of his country, refused foreign aid (under the slogan “he who feeds you, controls you”), nationalized all land and mineral wealth, promoted work for everyone to reach food self-sufficiency and built the first railway.
He started an ambitious plan to fight desertification by planting thousands of trees, promoted mass vaccination, and overtly denounced the dark mechanisms behind Africa’s odious debt (namely World Bank and IMF).
Sankara was the first African leader to favour women’s rights and to appoint them as key Ministers. For him, women were necessary to the Revolution. According to actress Shereener Browne, who plays Mariam Sankara, “Thomas Sankara was a feminist”. His book “The emancipation of women and the liberation of Africa” (1990,) is a real advocacy and a vision at the service of women victims of marginalization of all kinds, on the part of men.
“I speak on behalf of women around the world who suffer from a male-imposed exploitation system. As far as we are concerned, we are ready to welcome all the suggestions from all over the world, enabling us to achieve the total fulfillment of the Burkinabe woman. In return, we share with all countries, the positive experience that we undertake with women now present at all levels of the state apparatus and social life in Burkina Faso” (Sankara).
“Sankara” project caught the attention of UK superstar Levi Roots (the most successful contestant in BBC2 Dragon’s Den) who wrote the original songs for the play. The lead role of Thomas Sankara is played by Ike Chuks, an afrobeat and hiphop artist who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 with dancing group “Diversity”. Mr Chuks won the IARA’S award for the best UK afrobeat artist of 2017, and “SANKARA” marks his debut as an actor.