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Thomas Sankara's 1987 Women's Day Speech Was Revolutionary Even For Today's World & Parts of Africa Will Never Implement His Ideas

World leaders should be ashamed of the way women are treated in their countries and around the world

By IwriteMywrongsPublished 4 months ago 5 min read
Collage Created by Author

Friday, 22 December 2023

By: TB Obwoge

I wish that African countries would take me up on my challenge, Rwanda and Namibia are leading the way in gender equality, with Botswana making strides.

Thomas Sankara's thoughts on the position women should hold within a society, were and forever will be some of the most advanced beliefs held by most world leaders.

Sankara's International Women's Day speech, was filled with truths many men around the world don't believe. His speech was more advanced for it's time in most countries in Africa, including West Africa.

In Nigeria, where 95% of the law makers (political leaders) are males, they all walked off the floor when it was time to vote on a gender equality bill. In Ghana woman who want to run for officer reported being threatened. It ended up being reported in the annual human rights report for Ghana.

Women it West Africa lack most of the freedoms that women around the world have today. Some women may not believe this, especially an African women that's never left her home country. For example, when I was in Tumu, Ghana I was told that most women think that if their husband doesn't come home and beat them, then he doesn't love her.

I spoke with an Ewe woman who was from Ghana's Eastern Region, where those from the Ewe tribe originate from. She was married to a Sisala man from Tumu for 11-years, she left him because of his abuse and was raising her 11-year old son on her own.

Authors Photo Tumu, Ghana

On the occasion of International Women's Day, 8 March 1987, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sankara gave this most powerful speech.

Here are some part of Sankara's speech;

The revolution cannot triumph without the emancipation of women

The revolutions promises are already a reality for men. But for women, are still merely a rumor. And yet the authenticity and the future of our revolution depend on women. 

These are the vital and essential questions, because nothing whole whole, nothing definitive of lasting can be accomplished in our country as long as a crucial part of ourselves is kept in this condition of subjugation - a condition imposed over the course of centuries by various systems of exploitation.

Source Women's Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle

Various systems of exploitation would include religion, Islam or Christianity. Racism, skin color is looked at by people all over the world and the fact that Black Africans seem to think that they're not racists is the most annoying aspect of living in Africans countries.

It is in this light that all of us, men and women, must define and assert the role and place of women in society. Therefore, we must restore the man his true image by making the reign of freedom prevail over differentiations imposed by nature and eliminating all systems of hypocrisy that reinforce the shameless exploitation of women. 

In other words, posing the question of women in Burkinabè society today means posing the abolition of the system of slavery to which they have been subjected for millennia. The first step is to try to understand how this system functions, to grasp its real nature in all its subtlety, in order them to work out a line of action that can lead to women's total emancipation. 

Source Women's Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle

Authors Photo

The class struggle and the worldwide status of women

We undoubtedly owe a debt to dialectical materialism for having shed the greatest light on the problem of the conditions women face, allowing us to understand the exploitation. Dialectical materealism defines human society not as a natural, unchanging fact, but as the exact opposite.

Further more, in this speech Samkara explains how wealth, was once passed down from mother's, until society decided that women can't own anything, especially property. In many parts of Africa, widows are losing their land when their husbands pass away. 

In Kenya this is a common practice, a widow as even claimed that the now President William Ruto stole her land. She's not the only one that has accused him either.

Authors Photo | Accra, Ghana

Women's reality in Burkina Faso

While society sees the birth of a boy as a "gift from God," the birth of. girl is greeted as an act of fate, or at best, a that can be used to produce food and perpetuate the human race. 

The little male will be taught how to want and get, to speak up and be served, to desire and take, to decide things on his own. The future woman, however, is dealt a blow after blow by a society that unanimously, as one man - and "as a man" is the appropriate term - drums into her head norms tht lead nowhere. A psychological, straitjacket called virtue produces a spirit or personal alienation within her.

Source Women's Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle

Sankara explained that the women, even white women were the slave of the man, he spoke about women being used as sex objects. He said even the white man who went home to his wife, also subjugated his white wife to the role of servant.  

He spoke of men cheating, womanizing and sexualizing women, even the sex workers are victims of being looked down upon by society because of their work. While wives were also in the same exact postion because men used them to be the face of their families while running the streets and cheating on her.

For the #16DaysOfActivsim against gender-based violence against women, I made a video, with this speech read over some photos. I didn't read the entire speech, what I did read is an hour long.

I hope you can watch it, actually all you have to do is listen, I hope to make another video where I read the ending of this great speech.

Thank you for reading 🙏🏽 Please consider buying a coffee for Lacey’s House efforts in Gender Equality & Children’s Rights as it tries to move international.

©️TB Obwoge 2023 All Rights Reserved

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About the Creator


I'm the president of a nonprofit. I've lived in 3 countries, I love to travel, take photos and help children and women around the world! One day I pray an end to Child Marriages, Rape and a start to equal Education for ALL children 🙏🏽

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