Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) and is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. Its capital is Ouagadougou.

In 2014 its population was estimated at just over 17.3 million. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as an official language of government and business.

Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé (/bɜːrˈkiːnəbeɪ/ bur-KEE-nə-beh).

sample38
Location of Burkina Faso (dark blue) – in Africa (light blue & dark grey) – in the African Union (light blue)

The northwestern part of present-day Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers from 14000 BC to 5000 BC. From the 3rd to the 13th centuries AD, the Iron Age Bura culture existed in the territory of present-day southeastern Burkina Faso and southwestern Niger. Various ethnic groups of present-day Burkina Faso, such as the MossiFula and Dyula, arrived in successive waves between the 8th and 15th centuries. From the 11th century the Mossi people established several separate kingdoms. In the 1890s, during the European Scramble for Africa, the territory of Burkina Faso was invaded by France, and colonial control was established following a war of conquest between 1896 and 1904. The territory was made part of French West Africa in 1904, and the colony of French Upper Volta was established on 1 March 1919. The colony was named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River (the BlackRed and White Volta).

The Republic of Upper Volta was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community, and on 5 August 1960 it gained full independence, with Maurice Yaméogoas President. After protests by students and labour unions, Yaméogo was deposed in the 1966 coup d’état led by Sangoulé Lamizana, who became President. His rule coincided with the Sahel drought and famine, and facing problems from the country’s traditionally powerful trade unions, he was deposed in the 1980 coup d’état led by Saye Zerbo. Encountering resistance from trade unions again, Zerbo’s government was overthrown in the 1982 coup d’état led by Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. The leader of the leftist faction of Ouédraogo’s government, Thomas Sankara, became Prime Minister but was later imprisoned. Efforts to free him led to the popularly-supported 1983 coup d’état, in which he became President. Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso and launched an ambitious socioeconomic program which included a nationwide literacy campaign, land redistribution to peasants, railway and road construction and the outlawing of female genital mutilationforced marriages and polygamy. Sankara was overthrown and killed in the 1987 coup d’état led by Blaise Compaoré – deteriorating relations with former coloniser France and its ally the Ivory Coast was the reason given for the coup.

In 1987, Blaise Compaoré became President and, after an alleged 1989 coup attempt, was later elected in 1991 and 1998, elections which were boycotted by the opposition and received a considerably low turnout, as well as in 2005. He remained head of state until he was ousted from power by the popular youth upheaval of 31 October 2014, after which he fled to the Ivory Coast. Michel Kafando subsequently became the transitional President of the country. On 16 September 2015 a military coup d’état against the Kafando government was carried out by the Regiment of Presidential Security, the former presidential guard of Compaoré. On 24 September 2015, after pressure from the African UnionECOWAS and the armed forces, the military junta agreed to step down, and Michel Kafando was reinstated as Acting President. In the general election held on 29 November 2015Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won in the first round with 53.5% of the vote and was sworn in as President on 29 December 2015.

Etymology

Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. The words “Burkina” and “Faso” both stem from different languages spoken in the country: “Burkina” comes from Mossi and means “upright” showing how the people are proud of their integrity, while “Faso” comes from the Dyula language and means “fatherland” (lit. “father’s house”). The “bè” suffix added onto “Burkina” to form the demonym “Burkinabè” comes from the Fula language and means “men or women”.

The French colony of Upper Volta was named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River (the BlackRed and White Volta).

History

Prehistory

The northwestern part of today’s Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers between 14,000 and 5,000 BC. Their tools, including scraperschisels and arrowheads, were discovered in 1973 through archaeological excavations. Agricultural settlements were established between 3600 and 2600 BC. The Bura culture was an Iron-Agecivilization centred in the southwest portion of modern-day Niger and in the southeast part of contemporary Burkina Faso. Iron industry, in smelting and forging for tools and weapons, had developed in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1200 BC.

Early history

Historians began to debate about the exact dates when Burkina Faso’s many ethnic groups arrived to the area. The Proto-Mossi arrived in the far Eastern part of what is today Burkina Faso sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries, the Samo arrived around the 15th century, the Dogon lived in Burkina Faso’s north and northwest regions until sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries, and many of the other ethnic groups that make up the country’s population arrived in the region during this time.

During the Middle Ages the Mossi established several separate kingdoms including those of Tenkodogo, Yatenga, Zandoma, and Ouagadougou. Sometime between 1328 and 1338 Mossi warriors raided Timbuktu but the Mossi were defeated by Sonni Ali of Songhai at the Battle of Kobi in Mali in 1483.

During the early 16th century the Songhai conducted many slave raids into what is today Burkina Faso. During the 18th century the Gwiriko Empire was established at Bobo Dioulasso and ethnic groups such as the Dyan, Lobi, and Birifor settled along the Black Volta.

sample38
History of Burkina Faso
Armed men prevent the French explorer Louis-Gustave Binger from entering Sia (Bobo-Dioulasso) during his stay in April 1892.
sample38
History of Burkina Faso
The cavalry of the Mossi Kingdoms were experts at raiding deep into enemy territory, even against the formidable Mali Empire.

During the Middle Ages the Mossi established several separate kingdoms including those of Tenkodogo, Yatenga, Zandoma, and Ouagadougou. Sometime between 1328 and 1338 Mossi warriors raided Timbuktu but the Mossi were defeated by Sonni Ali of Songhai at the Battle of Kobi in Mali in 1483.

During the early 16th century the Songhai conducted many slave raids into what is today Burkina Faso. During the 18th century the Gwiriko Empire was established at Bobo Dioulasso and ethnic groups such as the Dyan, Lobi, and Birifor settled along the Black Volta.

From colony to independence (1890s–1958)

Starting in the early 1890s a series of BritishFrench and German military officers made attempts to claim parts of what is today Burkina Faso. At times these colonialists and their armies fought the local peoples; at times they forged alliances with them and made treaties. The colonialist officers and their home governments also made treaties amongst themselves. Through a complex series of events what is Burkina Faso eventually became a French protectorate in 1896.

The eastern and western regions, where a standoff against the forces of the powerful ruler Samori Ture complicated the situation, came under French occupation in 1897. By 1898, the majority of the territory corresponding to Burkina Faso was nominally conquered; however, French control of many parts remained uncertain.

The Franco-British Convention of 14 June 1898 created the country’s modern borders. In the French territory, a war of conquest against local communities and political powers continued for about five years. In 1904, the largely pacified territories of the Volta basin were integrated into the Upper Senegal and Niger colony of French West Africa as part of the reorganization of the French West African colonial empire. The colony had its capital in Bamako.

The language of colonial administration and schooling became French. The public education system started from humble origins. Advanced education was provided for many years during the colonial period in Dakar.

Draftees from the territory participated in the European fronts of World War I in the battalions of the Senegalese Rifles. Between 1915 and 1916, the districts in the western part of what is now Burkina Faso and the bordering eastern fringe of Mali became the stage of one of the most important armed oppositions to colonial government: the Volta-Bani War.

The French government finally suppressed the movement but only after suffering defeats. It also had to organize its largest expeditionary force of its colonial history to send into the country to suppress the insurrection. Armed opposition wracked the Sahelian north when the Tuareg and allied groups of the Dori region ended their truce with the government.

sample38
History of Burkina Faso
The capital, Ouagadougou, in 1930

French Upper Volta was established on 1 March 1919. The French feared a recurrence of armed uprising and had related economic considerations. To bolster its administration, the colonial government separated the present territory of Burkina Faso from Upper Senegal and Niger.

The new colony was named Haute Volta, and François Charles Alexis Édouard Hesling became its first governor. Hesling initiated an ambitious road-making program to improve infrastructure and promoted the growth of cotton for export. The cotton policy – based on coercion – failed, and revenue generated by the colony stagnated. The colony was dismantled on 5 September 1932, being split between the French colonies of Ivory CoastFrench Sudan and Niger. Ivory Coast received the largest share, which contained most of the population as well as the cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.

France reversed this change during the period of intense anti-colonial agitation that followed the end of World War II. On 4 September 1947, it revived the colony of Upper Volta, with its previous boundaries, as a part of the French Union. The French designated its colonies as departments of metropolitan France on the European continent.

On 11 December 1958 the colony achieved self-government as the Republic of Upper Volta; it joined the Franco-African Community. A revision in the organization of French Overseas Territories had begun with the passage of the Basic Law (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956. This act was followed by reorganization measures approved by the French parliament early in 1957 to ensure a large degree of self-government for individual territories. Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French community on 11 December 1958. Full independence from France was received in 1960.

Upper Volta (1958–1984)

sample38
Upper Volta 1958
Maurice Yaméogo, the first President of Upper Volta, examines documents of ratifying the country's independence in 1960

The Republic of Upper Volta (French: République de Haute-Volta) was established on 11 December 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community. The name Upper Volta related to the nation’s location along the upper reaches of the Volta River. The river’s three tributaries are called the BlackWhite and Red Volta. These were expressed in the three colors of the former national flag.

Before attaining autonomy, it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On 5 August 1960, it attained full independence from France. The first president, Maurice Yaméogo, was the leader of the Voltaic Democratic Union (UDV). The 1960 constitution provided for election by universal suffrage of a president and a national assembly for five-year terms. Soon after coming to power, Yaméogo banned all political parties other than the UDV. The government lasted until 1966. After much unrest, including mass demonstrations and strikes by students, labor unions, and civil servants, the military intervened.

Lamizana’s rule and multiple coups

The 1966 military coup deposed Yaméogo, suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and placed Lt. Col. Sangoulé Lamizana at the head of a government of senior army officers. The army remained in power for four years. On 14 June 1976, the Voltans ratified a new constitution that established a four-year transition period toward complete civilian rule. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s as president of military or mixed civil-military governments. Lamizana’s rule coincided with the beginning of the Sahel drought and famine which had a devastating impact on Upper Volta and neighboring countries. After conflict over the 1976 constitution, a new constitution was written and approved in 1977. Lamizana was re-elected by open elections in 1978.

Lamizana’s government faced problems with the country’s traditionally powerful trade unions, and on 25 November 1980, Col. Saye Zerbo overthrew President Lamizana in a bloodless coup. Colonel Zerbo established the Military Committee of Recovery for National Progress as the supreme governmental authority, thus eradicating the 1977 constitution.

Colonel Zerbo also encountered resistance from trade unions and was overthrown two years later by Maj. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo and the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP) in the 1982 Upper Voltan coup d’état. The CSP continued to ban political parties and organizations, yet promised a transition to civilian rule and a new constitution.

1983 coup d’état

Infighting developed between the right and left factions of the CSP. The leader of the leftists, Capt. Thomas Sankara, was appointed prime minister in January 1983, but subsequently arrested. Efforts to free him, directed by Capt. Blaise Compaoré, resulted in a military coup d’état on 4 August 1983.

The coup brought Sankara to power and his government began to implement a series of revolutionary programs which included mass-vaccinations, infrastructure improvements, the expansion of women’s rights, encouragement of domestic agricultural consumption and anti-desertification projects.

Burkina Faso (since 1984)

On 4 August 1984, on President Sankara’s initiative, the country’s name was changed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso or land of the honest men; (the literal translation is land of the upright men.)

sample38
Burkina Faso from 1984
Pioneers of the Revolution, c. 1985

Sankara’s government formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with Sankara as its president, and established popular Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs). The Pioneers of the Revolution youth programme was also established.

Sankara launched an ambitious socioeconomic programme for change, one of the largest ever undertaken on the African continent. His foreign policies were centred on anti-imperialism, his government denying all foreign aid, pushing for odious debt reduction, nationalising all land and mineral wealth and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies included a nationwide literacy campaign, land redistribution to peasants, railway and road construction and the outlawing of female genital mutilationforced marriages and polygamy.

Sankara pushed for agrarian self-sufficiency and promoted public health by vaccinating 2,500,000 children against meningitisyellow fever, and measles. His national agenda also included planting over 10,000,000 trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel. Sankara called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities build schools with their own labour.

1987 coup d’état

On 15 October 1987, Sankara, along with twelve other officials, was killed in a coup d’état organized by Blaise Compaoré, Sankara’s former colleague and Burkina Faso’s president until October 2014. After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days. A majority of Burkinabé citizens hold that France’s foreign ministry, the Quai d’Orsay, was behind Compaoré in organizing the coup.

Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given by Compaoré for the coup. Compaoré argued that Sankara had jeopardised foreign relations with the former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast (both of which supported the change in government). Following the coup Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara’s policies, returned the country back into the IMF fold, and ultimately spurned most of Sankara’s legacy. Limited democratic reforms were introduced in 1990 by Compaoré. Under the new constitution, Compaoré was re-elected without opposition in 1991. In 1998 Compaoré won election in a landslide. In 2004, 13 people were tried for plotting a coup against President Compaoré and the coup’s alleged mastermind was sentenced to life imprisonment. As of 2014, Burkina Faso remains one of the least developed countries in the world.

Compaoré’s government had played the role of negotiator in several West-African disputes including the 2010–11 Ivorian crisis, the Inter-Togolese Dialogue, and the 2012 Malian Crisis.

Between February and April 2011, the death of a schoolboy provoked protests throughout the country, coupled with a military mutiny and a magistrates’ strike.

October 2014 protests

Starting on 28 October 2014 protesters began to march and demonstrate in Ouagadougou against President Blaise Compaoré who appeared ready to amend the constitution and extend his 27-year rule. On 30 October, some protesters set fire to the parliament and took over the national TV headquarters. Ouagadougou International Airport was closed and MPs suspended the vote on changing the constitution to allow Compaoré to stand for re-election in 2015. Later in the day, the military dissolved all government institutions and set a curfew.

On 31 October 2014, President Compaoré, facing mounting pressure, resigned after 27 years in office. Lt. Col. Isaac Zida said that he would lead the country during its transitional period before the planned 2015 presidential election but there were concerns over his close ties to the former president. In November 2014 opposition parties, civil society groups and religious leaders adopted a plan for a transitional authority to guide Burkina Faso to elections. Under the plan Michel Kafando was made the transitional President of Burkina Faso and Lt. Col. Zida became the acting Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

2015 coup d’état

In September 2015, the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP) seized the country’s president and prime minister, and declared the National Council for Democracy the new national government. However, on 22 September 2015, the coup leader, Gilbert Diendéré, apologized and promised to restore the civilian government. On 23 September 2015, the prime minister and interim president were restored to power.

November 2015 election

General elections were held in Burkina Faso on 29 November 2015. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won the election in the first round with 53.5% of the vote, defeating businessman Zéphirin Diabré who took 29.7%. Kaboré was sworn in as President on 29 December 2015.

Geography & Climate

sample38
Burkina Faso
Map of Burkina Faso

Geography

Burkina Faso lies mostly between latitudes  and 15°N (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6°W and 3°E.

It is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain, which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a Precambrian massif. The southwest of the country, on the other hand, forms a sandstone massif, where the highest peak, Ténakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 meters (2,457 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 m (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 m (1,312 ft) and the difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 m (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is therefore a relatively flat country.

The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta (or Mouhoun), the White Volta(Nakambé) and the Red Volta (Nazinon). The Black Volta is one of the country’s only two rivers which flow year-round, the other being the Komoé, which flows to the southwest. The basin of the Niger River also drains 27% of the country’s surface.

The Niger’s tributaries – the Béli, Gorouol, Goudébo, and Dargol – are seasonal streams and flow for only four to six months a year. They still can flood and overflow, however. The country also contains numerous lakes – the principal ones are Tingrela, Bam, and Dem. The country contains large ponds, as well, such as Oursi, Béli, Yomboli, and Markoye. Water shortages are often a problem, especially in the north of the country.

sample38
Geography
Savannah near the Gbomblora Department, on the road from Gaoua to Batié

Climate​

 

sample38
Climate
Map of Köppen climate classification

Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 60 and 90 cm (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall; in the dry season, the harmattan – a hot dry wind from the Sahara – blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June through September, and is shorter in the north of the country. Three climatic zones can be defined: the Sahel, the Sudan-Sahel, and the Sudan-Guinea. The Sahel in the north typically receives less than 60 cm (23.6 in) of rainfall per year and has high temperatures, 5–47 °C (41–117 °F).

A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan to the South. Situated between 11°3′ and 13°5′ north latitude, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 90 cm (35.4 in) of rain each year and has cooler average temperatures.

Burkina Faso’s natural resources include goldmanganeselimestonemarblephosphatespumice, and salt.

Society

Demographics

sample38
Burkinabè Society
A Burkinabè Tuareg man in Ouagadougou

Burkina Faso is an ethnically integrated, secular state. Most of Burkina’s people are concentrated in the south and center of the country, where their density sometimes exceeds 48 persons per square kilometer (125/sq. mi.). Hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe migrate regularly to Ivory Coast and Ghana, mainly for seasonal agricultural work. These flows of workers are affected by external events; the September 2002 coup attempt in Ivory Coast and the ensuing fighting meant that hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe returned to Burkina Faso. The regional economy suffered when they were unable to work.

The total fertility rate of Burkina Faso is 5.93 children born per woman (2014 estimates), the sixth highest in the world.

In 2009 the U.S. Department of State‘s Trafficking in Persons Report reported that slavery in Burkina Faso continued to exist and that Burkinabè children were often the victims. Slavery in the Sahel states in general, is an entrenched institution with a long history that dates back to the Arab slave trade.

Ethnic groups

Burkina Faso’s 17.3 million people belong to two major West African ethnic cultural groups—the Voltaic and the Mande (whose common language is Dioula). The Voltaic Mossi make up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated to present-day Burkina Faso from northern Ghana around 1100 AD. They established an empire that lasted more than 800 years. Predominantly farmers, the Mossi kingdom is led by the Mogho Naba, whose court is in Ouagadougou.

Languages

Burkina Faso is a multilingual country. An estimated 69 languages are spoken there, of which about 60 languages are indigenous. The Mossi language (MossiMòoré) is spoken by about 40% of the population, mainly in the central region around the capital, Ouagadougou, along with other, closely related Gurunsi languages scattered throughout Burkina.

In the west, Mande languages are widely spoken, the most predominant being Dyula (also known as Jula or Dioula), others including BoboSamo, and Marka. The Fula language (FulaFulfuldeFrenchPeuhl) is widespread, particularly in the north. The Gourmanché language is spoken in the east, while the Bissa language is spoken in the south.

The official language is French, which was introduced during the colonial period. French is the principal language of administrative, political and judicial institutions, public services, and the press. It is the only language for laws, administration and courts.

Religion

sample38
Religion in Burkina Faso
The Grand Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso

Religion in Burkina Faso (2006)

  Islam (60.5%)
  Christianity (23.2%)
  Indigenous beliefs (15.3%)
  Irreligious and others (1.0%)
 
Statistics on religion in Burkina Faso are inexact because Islamand Christianity are often practiced in tandem with indigenous religious beliefs. The Government of Burkina Faso 2006 census reported that 60.5% of the population practice Islam, and that the majority of this group belong to the Sunni branch, while a small minority adheres to Shia Islam. There are also large concentrations of the Ahmadiyya Muslims.

A significant number of Sunni Muslims identify with the Tijaniyah Sufi order. The government estimated that 23.2% of the population are Christians (19% being Roman Catholics and 4.2% members of Protestant denominations); 15.3% follow traditional indigenous beliefs, 0.6% have other religions, and 0.4% have none.

Culture

sample38
Culture of Burkina Faso
A masked Winiama dancer, ca. 1970

Literature in Burkina Faso is based on the oral tradition, which remains important. In 1934, during French occupation, Dim-Dolobsom Ouedraogo published his Maximes, pensées et devinettes mossi (Maximes, Thoughts and Riddles of the Mossi), a record of the oral history of the Mossi people.

The oral tradition continued to have an influence on Burkinabè writers in the post-independence Burkina Faso of the 1960s, such as Nazi Boni and Roger Nikiema. The 1960s saw a growth in the number of playwrights being published. Since the 1970s, literature has developed in Burkina Faso with many more writers being published.

The theatre of Burkina Faso combines traditional Burkinabè performance with the colonial influences and post-colonial efforts to educate rural people to produce a distinctive national theatre. Traditional ritual ceremonies of the many ethnic groups in Burkina Faso have long involved dancing with masks. Western-style theatre became common during colonial times, heavily influenced by French theatre. With independence came a new style of theatre inspired by forum theatre aimed at educating and entertaining Burkina Faso’s rural people.

Arts and crafts

sample38
Arts and Crafts
Artisan garland of decorative painted gourds in Ouagadougou.

In addition to several rich traditional artistic heritages among the peoples, there is a large artist community in Burkina Faso, especially in Ouagadougou. Much of the crafts produced are for the growing tourist industry.

Cuisine

sample38
Cuisine
A plate of fufu (right) accompanied with peanut soup.

Typical of West African cuisine, Burkina Faso’s cuisine is based on staple foods of sorghummillet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beansyams and okra. The most common sources of animal protein are chicken, chicken eggs and fresh water fish. A typical Burkinabè beverage is Banji or Palm Wine, which is fermented palm sap; and Zoom-kom, or “grain water” purportedly the national drink of Burkina Faso. Zoom-kom is milky-looking and whitish, having a water and cereal base, best drunk with ice cubes. In the more rural regions, in the outskirts of Burkina, you would find Dolo, which is drink made from fermented millet.

Cinema

The cinema of Burkina Faso is an important part of West African and African film industry. Burkina’s contribution to African cinema started with the establishment of the film festival FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou), which was launched as a film week in 1969. Many of the nation’s filmmakers are known internationally and have won international prizes.

For many years the headquarters of the Federation of Panafrican Filmmakers (FEPACI) was in Ouagadougou, rescued in 1983 from a period of moribund inactivity by the enthusiastic support and funding of President Sankara. (In 2006 the Secretariat of FEPACI moved to South Africa, but the headquarters of the organization is still in Ouagadougou.) Among the best known directors from Burkina Faso are Gaston KaboréIdrissa Ouedraogo and Dani Kouyate. Burkina produces popular television series such as Les Bobodiouf. The internationally known filmmakers such as Ouedraogo, Kabore, Yameogo, and Kouyate make popular television series.

Sports

sample38
Sports
Burkina Faso national football team in white during a football match.

Sport in Burkina Faso is widespread and includes football (soccer), basketball, cycling, rugby union, handball, tennis, boxing and martial arts. Football is very popular in Burkina Faso, played both professionally, and informally in towns and villages across the country. The national team is nicknamed “Les Etalons” (“the Stallions”) in reference to the legendary horse of Princess Yennenga.

In 1998, Burkina Faso hosted the Africa Cup of Nations for which the Omnisport Stadium in Bobo-Dioulasso was built. In 2013, Burkina Faso qualified for the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, reached the final, but then lost to Nigeria by the score of 0 to 1. The country is currently ranked 53rd in the FIFA World Rankings.

Basketball is another sport which enjoys much popularity for both men and women. The country’s national team had its most successful year in 2013 when it qualified for the AfroBasket, the continent’s prime basketball event.

Cultural festivals and events

Every two years, Ouagadougou hosts the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the largest African cinema festival on the continent (February, odd years).

Held every two years since 1988, the International Art and Craft Fair, Ouagadougou (SIAO), is one of Africa’s most important trade shows for art and handicrafts (late October-early November, even years).

Also every two years, the Symposium de sculpture sur granit de Laongo takes place on a site located about 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Ouagadougou, in the province of Oubritenga.

The National Culture Week of Burkina Faso, better known by its French name La Semaine Nationale de la culture (SNC), is one of the most important cultural activities of Burkina Faso. It is a biennial event which takes place every two years in Bobo Dioulasso, the second-largest city in the country.

The Festival International des Masques et des Arts (FESTIMA), celebrating traditional masks, is held every two years in Dédougou.

Leave a Comment