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Celebrating Barthélemy Boganda

Celebrating Barthélemy Boganda

Each year on March 29, the Central African Republic celebrates Boganda day. It is a national holiday that honours the country's first prime minister, Barthélemy Boganda, who died on this exact date in 1959. 

 

Early Life

Barthélemy Boganda was born April 4, 1910, in Bobangui. His father, Swalakpé, was a local leader in the region and was killed in a battle with colonial troops. His mother, Siribé, also passed on when the troops invaded the village. Boganda, now an orphan, was taken in by the Catholic missionaries, where he was taught Christianity. He was baptized and became the first African Roman Catholic Priest in the country. 

 

Political Career

Shortly after this, he got into politics and started his own political party, the Social Evolution Movement of Black Africa. His party fought against French colonialism and racism in the country. He pushed for equal treatment and civil rights for black people in the country. He was widely popular and gained a massive following.


Boganda was a firm believer in Pan-Africanism and proposed the unison of several African states into one. He suggested the name, the United States of Latin Africa. The other states did not agree with his idea. He went forth and changed the country's name from Ubangi-Shari to the Central African Republic. He also designed the country's flag. 


On December 1 1958, he became the first prime minister of the Central African Republic. He, unfortunately, passed away eight days before he was supposed to take over as president in a plane crash. Many have speculated over the years over the mysterious circumstances around his death. 

 

 

 

Even though he did not live to see his country gain independence in 1960, Boganda led the fight for decolonization. He is considered a national martyr and the father of the Central African Republic.

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