Burkina Faso is a country situated in West Africa. It was formerly known as “Upper Volta” until 1984 when its name was changed by President Sankara. The word Burkina Faso can be loosely translated to mean “land of honest/honorable people”. It is bordered to the north by Mali, to the east by Niger, and, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Ghana to the South.
Its major city, which is also the capital city, is Ougadougou or Ouga. Other cities include, Ouahigouya, Koudougou, Dedougou, Banfora and, Bobo-Dioulasso.
Demographics of Burkina Faso
Its population of 17 million people is divided into two major cultural groups; the Voltaic Mossi and the Mande. The Mossi are the largest group forming about 52.5% of the population. They speak Mooré, a language that belongs to the Gur people. Other Gur speakers are Lobi, Senufo and Gurunsi.
The Mande speak Mande together with other ethnic groups like Dyula, Marka, Samo and, Busansi. The Fulani who are the second largest ethnic group, consisting 8.4% of the population, speak fula. Other minor ethnicities are the Hausa and Tuareg, whose language is classified as Afro-Asiatic.
Despite these ethnic divisions and languages, the citizens of Burkina Faso are all known as Burkinabe. The official language is French, since the country was a French colony. However, the widely spoken language is moore and Dyula (Diula), which is the trading language shared also by Cote d’Ivoire and Mali.
They majorly practice Islam. 61.6% of Burkinabe practice this religion. Christianity is also practiced in two major denominations of Roman Catholics and Protestants. There are also Traditionalists/Animists who constitute less than 10% of the country’s population.
Burkina Faso has a deep cultural heritage as evidenced by several music and cultural events. Music is mostly played on instruments such as flutes, drums and other handmade stringed instruments. The balophon, made out of gourds, is a common instrument used by the Burkinabe. It resembles the xylophone.
Burkina Faso is home to the most famous cultural event that has also been dubbed “Africa’ s Oscars”. The FESTPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma d'Ouagadougou) is hosted in the capital after every two years and promotes the Burkinabe film industry and the African culture as a whole.
Some famous Burkinabe include Jacky Ido (actor), Aristide Sawadogo (basketballer) and, Monique Ilboudo (human rights activist and lawyer).