Africa has been a victim of exploitation over the last century. During this period, many African states were left poverty-stricken, with low literacy rates and low rates of civilization among many other effects.

However, thanks to African revolutionaries across all regions, Africa has developed and is still developing socially, economically and politically. Early revolutionaries such as Kwame Nkrumah and Thomas Sankara made an impact.

Most African revolutionaries shared motives to better the political and social situation of their country at a time when Africans were oppressed by the European exploiters.

Revolutionary leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela and Thomas Samkara were influential on Human Rights issues and impacted the way politics is perceived in Africa and the world.

1. Thomas Sankara, First President of Burkina Faso

Thomas Sankara who was the first president of Burkina Faso managed to vaccinate 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles. He was also influential in gender equality; appointing females to high governmental positions which were rare at that time (the 80s).

Sankara also outlawed female genital mutilation and forced marriages and was once quoted saying “Comrades, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women’s silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt.”

In a patriarchal society, Thomas Sankara recognised the importance of women in society and that the first step to social revolution was to be a voice for women and empower them.

2. Kwame Nkrumah, Founding member of the Organisation of African Unity

Kwame Nkrumah is another influential revolutionary from Africa. He was the founding member of the Organisation of African Unity which was later replaced by the African Union in 2002. The objectives of the AU are to achieve unity and solidarity between African nations, defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States. The African Union also has the responsibility to accelerate the political and social economic integration of Africa.

Nkrumah worked towards the decolonization of Africa by founding a Pan-Africanist movement West African Nation Secretariat in 1945 which was based in Britain.

These revolutionaries definitely brought change to Africa and steered the continent to a different direction through encouraging social, economic and political change. Their ideas shall live on in inspiring new generations to unite Africa and better AFRICA.