Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The National Anthem of Burkina Faso

Une Seule Nuit (also known as L'Hymne de la victoire or Ditanyè) is the national anthem of Burkina Faso. It was written by the former president Thomas Sankara and adopted in 1984, when the country adopted its present name, and replaced the Hymne Nationale Voltaïque, or national anthem of Upper Volta.

Captain Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (December 21, 1949 – October 15, 1987) was the leader of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. While noted for his personal charisma and praised for promoting health and women's rights, he also antagonized many vested interests in the country. 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.

A coup d'état organised by Blaise Compaoré made Sankara President on August 4, 1983, at the age of 33. The coup d'état was supported by Libya which was, at the time, on the verge of war with France in Chad.

Sankara saw himself as a revolutionary and was inspired by the examples of Cuba and Ghana's military leader, Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings. As President, he promoted the "Democratic and Popular Revolution" (Révolution démocratique et populaire, or RDP).

The ideology of the Revolution was defined by Sankara as anti-imperialist in a speech of October 2, 1983, the Discours d'orientation politique (DOP), written by his close associate Valère Somé. His policy was oriented toward fighting corruption, promoting reforestation, averting famine, and making education and health real priorities.

In 1984, on the first anniversary of his accession, he renamed the country Burkina Faso, meaning "the land of upright people" in Mossi and Djula, the two major languages of the country. He also gave it a new flag and wrote a new national anthem (Une Seule Nuit).

The stamp above issued in 1984, features Sankara with his people on the background singing the national anthem. Parts of the lyrics are shown.