I was watching Pointless last night when a question came up
about capital cities...
Of the twelve cities, I knew all but one of their respective
countries (Doha in Qatar was the one that got away...), but I was denied the chance to show off when my favourite-named capital didn’t appear.
The city is called Ouagadougou at it is the capital of Burkina
Faso (or Upper Volta in old money). The area was formerly under French colonial rule and the name derives from the French pronunciation of the word “Wodogodo”, which means “where people get honour and respect”, a title given to the land by a legendary hero called Wubri...
I was slightly disappointed to read this, because I had always assumed the city was named in honour of the Black Lace song...
No matter... The name of Ouagadougou stirs up one slightly random memory for me. I have never been to Africa, let alone Burkina Faso, but back on 25thMay 1986, I watched the grainy television pictures as literally tens of thousands of people set off to “run the world” as part of the massive Sportaid event. Apparently, but not altogether surprisingly,
temperatures in West Africa were in excess of 100ºF, but that did not deter the locals, nor the entire government cabinet who were let’s say “encouraged” to participate by the then President Thomas Sankara.
I remember the day vividly; pictures were beamed from major cities around the world and when I saw this mass of people sprinting across the dusty African terrain, I was actually moved to go out and pound the streets myself. I didn’t exactly “run the world”... I sort of plodded around York in my usual unathletic way, but at least I can say I took part.
I’m not too sure why I’ve actually committed what was no more that a momentary thought to what is effectively electronic paper... but “pointless” as this blog may be, I will leave you with the good folk of Burkina Faso and their national anthem...
Ouagadougou... gou... push pineapple, shake the tree
Ouagadougou... gou... push pineapple, black coffee...
All my own work... almost.