Burkina Faso: A Name for All the People

Located on the southern edge of the Sahara, it is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with a per capita income of $210 a year. Its 6.7 million people have been suffering from recurring drought that has caused widespread hardship and political instability. This month Upper Volta shed the name that the French bequeathed along with independence 24 years ago. President Thomas Sankara, 34, who seized power last year, decreed that his country would hence forth be known as Burkina Faso.

The change is but the latest of a series that has...

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