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Biography of Joseph KI-ZERBO

Burkina Faso > Literature : Joseph KI-ZERBO

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Born on 21/06/1922 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Joseph Ki-Zerbo  (June 21, 1922 - December 4, 2006) was a Burkinabe historian, activist and politician who was recognised as one of Africa's foremost thinkers

Born in Toma, he studied at the Sorbonne and Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and then became professor for history in Orléans and Paris. In 1957, Ki-Zerbo returned to Burkina Faso and became politically active. From 1972 to 1978 he was professor for African history at the University of Ouagadougou. In 1983, he was forced into exile - only being able to return in 1992. In 1994, Joseph Ki-Zerbo founded the Party for Democracy and Progress / Socialist Party, which he was chairman of until 2005 and represented in parliament until 2006.

Ki-Zerbo was the best-known opponent of the revolutionary government of Thomas Sankara. He was a Socialist and an exponent of an independent development of Africa and of unity of the continent.


In 1997, he received the Right Livelihood Award, the so-called Alternative Nobel Prize, for his work as a historian and his analysis of Africa's problems.

In 2000, he received the Al-Kadhafi nternational Prize for Human Rights.


1964 : Le Monde africain noir (Paris, Hatier)
1972 : Histoire de l’Afrique noire (Paris, Hatier)
1991 : Histoire générale de l’Afrique
2003 : A quand l'Afrique, collaboration with René Holenstein (Editions de l’Aube, prix RFI Témoin du monde 2004)
2005 : Afrique Noire, with Didier Ruef (Paris, Infolio éditions)

Last update : 07/08/2008

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