Looking for a summer read?

8 06 2009

About a week ago, I finished Norbert Zongo’s “The Parachute Drop.” Though it is a fictional book, when released, it received very mixed reviews due to its commentary on African politics. Zongo was very accustomed to these remarks of either high regard or high dismissal as a staple writer for Burkina’s progressive L’Independence newspaper. The author was killed in 1998 under suspicious circumstamces and has very much become the taboo narrative of BF political discourse. Every year, schools around Burkina protest the day of his death. I encourage anyone who is inetersted in politics or development in Africa to read the short book as it dips into the dichotomy of city v. village life and is just plain entertaining. Since I can’t really talk about politics per my contractual agreement with PC (and you guys know I love that stuff!), I’ve decided to list some un-taboo political facts about Burkina Faso’s rise to republic in case you ever want to sound super informed at a cocktail party:

1919- Haute-Volta is created

1932- the territory is divided into Niger, French Soudan (eventually part of Mali), and Cote d’Ivoire

1947- Original 1919 borders are restored and Bobo-Dioulasso becomes Haute-Volta capital (In 1952 this will be changed to a more centrally located Ouagadougou)

1958- First Republic is established in the adoption of September 28ths Constitution. Maurice Yameogo is appointed Chairman of Republic in 1960

1966- Yameogo is highly unpopular with people and General Sangoule Lamizana is able to takeover

1980- Coup d’Etat by Sayo Zerbo and many other Army officials

1982-Marxist Coup d’Etat by Thomas Sankara which left Jean Baptiste Ouedraogo in power

1983- The National Council of Revolution led by Thomas Sankara announces via radio their takeover

1984- Haute Volta becomes Burkina Faso “land of upright people”

1987- During a Coup d’Etat Thomas Sankara is murdered and his second-in-command Blaise Compaore rises to power (where he still is tjanks to the very sucessful re-election campaigns of 91, 98, 05)

PS- Another good read (naturally pertaining to W.Africa) is Nine Hills to Nambonkaha which takes place close to 60km away from my actual site and is one of the most popular PC memoires. Its written by a former health volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire. Her village spoke Jula as well and though printed a while back, it is still strikingly poignant to the culture in my village. In fact, I’d say add cell phones and a few more motos and its exactly the same as my village!!




2 responses

17 07 2009


I wish we went to cocktail parties where people actually talked about something other than frat life or michael jackson.

18 07 2009

loveeee u will def pick up those books!!!!

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