Thomas Sankara Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Martha Martins
Feb 08, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Dec 06, 2023
To unite the country, he constructed a railway and roads without the help of outsiders
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About Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara was a military commander, Marxist revolutionary, and pan-Africanist who served as the President of Burkina Faso from 1983 until his assassination in 1987. He was initially appointed Prime Minister in 1983 but was later imprisoned due to disputes with the government.

In the same year, a group of revolutionaries took over the government in a coup. While training in Madagascar, Sankara witnessed a movement by students and workers that led to the overthrow of the government.

As president, Sankara focused on education by launching a national literacy campaign and promoting agricultural self-sufficiency to prevent hunger. He also improved public health by vaccinating children against yellow fever, measles, and meningitis.

Thomas Sankara reduced the salaries of public servants, including his own, and forbade using first-class plane tickets and government-provided chauffeurs. He advocated for African nations to unite and cancel their sovereign loans. He repurposed the army's supply depot into a public supermarket accessible to all citizens. Sankara donated a significant portion of his income to his country.

Thomas Sankara: Net Worth, Earnings, & Spending Habits

What was Thomas Sankara’s net worth?

Thomas Sankara's net worth was between $1-2 million as of his death.

How much did Thomas Sankara earn per year?

As president of Burkina Faso from 1983-1987, Thomas Sankara earned $450 per month or $5,400 per year.

Height, Age, & Physical Attributes

How tall was Thomas Sankara?

Thomas Sankara's height is not known.

How old was Thomas Sankara?

Thomas Sankara was 37 years old at his death. He was born on December 21, 1949, and died on October 15, 1987.

Childhood And Education

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara was born in Yako, Burkina Faso on December 21, 1949. He was the third of 10 children born to Joseph and Marguerite Sankara in Yako, French Upper Volta. His father, Joseph Sankara, a gendarme, was of mixed Mossi-Fulani lineage, and his mother, Marguerite Sankara, was of Mossi ancestry.

Thomas Sankara grew up in Gaoua, Burkina Faso. His father was an auxiliary gendarme, and they lived in a brick home on a hill with other gendarme families. Sankara had a privileged upbringing as the son of an African bureaucrat working for the colonial administration.

Thomas Sankara attended a parachute academy in France before returning to Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, in 1972. Thomas Sankara did well in math and French during his primary education in Bobo-Dioulasso. Instead of attending seminary school, he chose to take the exam for entry into the secular educational system and passed.

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who was Thomas Sankara’s partner?

Thomas Sankara married Mariam Sankara, Burkina Faso's First Lady from 1983-1987. They had two children, Philippe Sankara and Auguste Sankara.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Thomas Sankara became Burkina Faso's Minister of Information in September 1981. He stood out from other officials by riding a bicycle to work and supporting investigative journalism. He also allowed the media to publish whatever they found.

Thomas Sankara supported the Democratic and Popular Revolution (RDP) during his presidency and described the Revolution's worldview as anti-imperialist in a speech titled 'Discours D'Orientation Politique' (DOP) in October 1983. Sankara's policies focused on eradicating corruption and encouraging reforestation.

In January 1983, Sankara was chosen as the prime minister by the newly established Conseil de Salut du Peuple, or Council for the Salvation of the People, led by Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. He prioritized gender parity in his government, aiming to elevate the position of women in Burkinabe culture, which was a first for West Africa.

During Thomas Sankara's presidency from 1983-1986, Burkina Faso saw an increase in grain production due to agricultural reforms, including land redistribution. Women were given senior government positions, encouraged to work and continue their education even during pregnancy, and allowed to take time off for childbirth while pursuing their studies. The government also focused on building schools, hospitals, hydroelectric dams, and rail infrastructure.

What awards did Thomas Sankara win?

Thomas Sankara did not win any awards during his lifetime, but awards have been named after him to honor his legacy. The Thomas Sankara Prize is given to films that reflect his ideals, as seen when the documentary 'Cuba In Africa' won this award. The Thomas Sankara Leadership Prize For Integrity And Transparency is awarded to individuals who embody his principles of ethical leadership and transparency.

Thomas Sankara’s Hobbies And Interests

Thomas Sankara was a skilled guitarist who wrote Burkina Faso's national anthem. He played in local bands such as Tout-à-Coup Jazz and Pô Missiles.

Other Interesting Thomas Sankara Facts And Trivia

  • Thomas Sankara enacted policies that reduced infant mortality, increased literacy rates, and improved school attendance.
  • During his presidency in Burkina Faso, he created a personal guard of female motorcyclists who accompanied him on his travels throughout the country.
  • Sankara was celebrated on October 15, 2007, in Burkina Faso, Mali, Burundi, France, Canada, Senegal, Niger, Tanzania, and the United States, 20 years after his death.
  • As president, he wore a military uniform and red beret and enjoyed riding motorbikes and playing the guitar.
  • Thomas Sankara fought in a border war with Mali and returned home as a hero.
  • He is often referred to as Africa’s Che Guevara.
  • Sankara renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (land of upright people) in Mooré and Dyula, two of the country’s primary languages.
  • His government rejected foreign aid, nationalized land and mineral wealth, reduced debt, and avoided the influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as part of their anti-imperialist foreign policies.
  • Thomas Sankara moved Burkina Faso's foreign relations towards communist and left-leaning administrations while distancing from Western powers.
  • 'Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983–1987' is a book containing speeches and interviews by Thomas Sankara.
  • Thomas Sankara's zodiac sign is Sagittarius.

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Thomas Sankara Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Thomas Sankara

Date of Birth


Date of Death




Place of Birth


Child Star?



Politician, Military Officer


Military Academy Of Antsirabe

Net Worth



Mariam Sankara


Joseph Sankara, Marguerite Sankara


Valentin Sankara, Paul Sankara, Odile Sankara, Pauline Sankara, Florence Sankara, Colette Sankara

Annual Earnings

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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