Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (December 21, 1949 – October 15, 1987) was the leader of Burkina Faso (formerly known as Upper Volta) from 1983 to 1987. He was overthrown and assassinated in a coup d'état led by Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987, sometimes believed to have been at the instruction of France.
- I would like to leave behind me the conviction that if we maintain a certain amount of caution and organization we deserve victory[....] You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. [...] We must dare to invent the future.
- (From 1985 interview with Swiss Journalist Jean-Philippe Rapp, translated from Sankara: Un nouveau pouvoir africain by Jean Ziegler. Lausanne, Switzerland: Editions Pierre-Marcel Favre, 1986. Used by permission in following source:) Sankara, Thomas. Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-87. trans. Samantha Anderson. New York: Pathfinder, 1988. pp. 141-144.