When travelling across West Africa, you come across one too many interesting facts about the people who make up the area. You discover the things that distinguish us as West Africans and the things that make each country unique. The Jollof team just left Burkina Faso and here are some new things they learned.
Burkina Faso is a former French colony.
A brief history lesson here: just as Nigeria was colonised by the British, a lot of Africa was shared among other European countries such as France for colonisation purposes. The West African countries colonised by France were under a collective federation called French West Africa.
The federation consisted of eight French colonial territories: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger. The capital of the federation was Dakar. The federation existed from 1895 until 1960. This should explain why the official language in some countries in West Africa is French.
Burkina Faso used to be known as “Upper Volta”
This was the name used during the colonial period. Upper Volta indicates that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River. When Thomas Sankara came to power, the name of the state was changed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, meaning “the homeland of upright men.”
In Burkina Faso, Cotton is “white gold”
Apparently, Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s largest producer of cotton. Local farmers call it their ‘white gold’. Cotton is the mainstay of the country’s economy, earning over 200 million dollars in revenue each year.
Burkina Faso wasn’t a country for a period of time.
The French only colonised it because it was a bridge between their coastal territories of Benin and Ivory Coast and their desert holdings in modern-day Mali and Niger. It even stopped being a country for 15 years from 1932, when it was carved up between its more important neighbors.
A six-day school week
The school week runs from Monday through Saturday. But schools are closed on Thursdays.
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