Five years after Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Ouagadougou, the great disenchantment of students

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The campus of Joseph Ki-Zerbo University in Ouagadougou is starting to come alive. The end of the day is approaching and, barely out of class, the students storm the coffee kiosks. Sitting in the shade of a tree, Jean-François Somé, with a degree in modern literature, follows the turbulent news of his country on his telephone.

The 25-year-old student is watching for the next announcements from Captain Ibrahim Traoré, the putschist who took power in Burkina Faso on September 30. This soldier who overthrew another soldier and promises, in turn, to put an end to the jihadist attacks, he sees him as the “reincarnation of Sankara”.

Like the captain president when he rose to the top of the state, Ibrahim Traoré is 34 years old. “He is young, military, patriotic, he is the man for the job”, exalts Jean-François Somé, won over by the first official release of the new Burkinabe strongman. It was October 15: the new head of the junta was given a “torch of the revolution” while paying homage to Thomas Sankara, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 35e anniversary of his death.

Read also In Burkina Faso, students, “betrayed” by political elites, place their hopes in the junta

In Burkina Faso, the pan-African and anti-imperialist icon, assassinated in 1987, continues to inspire some young people, disappointed with politics and exasperated by seven years of jihadist violence. An admiration all the more lively that the criticisms formulated by Thomas Sankara against the African policy of France still resonate. Sixty-two years after the independence of the former Upper Volta, the rejection of Paris has reached unprecedented levels in the country. Several symbols of France paid the price the day after the putsch: embassy, ​​cultural centers and tricolor flags.

Five years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron had rightly chosen Joseph Ki-Zerbo University to address young people. On November 28, 2017, in front of 800 students crammed into one of the amphitheaters built by former Libyan guide Muammar Gaddafi, he proclaimed the end of the “France’s African policy”, garnering applause and boos. On the sidelines of his visit, clashes erupted between expelled university students and the police.

” Nothing has changed “

At the time, Jean-François Somé was still a student in the final year, but he had followed the speech, broadcast on the radio. He had appreciated the tone of this young Head of State who, like him, “never knew Africa as a colonized continent”and had wanted to believe in his promise of a “new relationship” between France and his country. ” Nothing has changed “regrets today the young man sitting on a stone bench.

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Five years after Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Ouagadougou, the great disenchantment of students

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