The Ties That Bond

After the assassination of Burkina Faso’s President Thomas Sankara, one of the most-beloved African rulers, her father, the president’s first military officer, Etienne Zongo was arrested.

[Books: Inspirations]

Family has always been at the forefront of Nathalia Zongo’s life. But, when Thomas Sankara, the president of Burkina Faso, West Africa, was assassinated in October 1987, the close ties of the Zongo family risked being permanently severed.

After the assassination of the president, her beloved father, the president’s first military officer, Etienne Zongo was arrested. The then four-year-old, along with her three brothers and mother wouldn’t see him again for seven years.

Today, she is a college student in Texas and the author of “When Everything Has Fallen” (BookSurge Publishing, 2007) (, an inspirational memoir that focuses not only on the cruel injustice that her father, forced to flee West Africa for France, endured and on the impact being separated from her father that had on her family. She focuses on the importance of family in our lives and reminds us of the great significance and stability that fathers have on family. 

In fact, there were times when Zongo wondered if she would ever see her father again. “I had no guarantee of seeing him again except that in my heart I was hoping and praying to see him again one day. I believe hope is the most important thing in everyone’s life no matter what because as long as you have hope, anything is possible,” she says.

It is that hope that inspired her to move to the United States, enroll in a college among all difficulties of learning a new and different culture and eventually to write her first book. An avid reader and writer since childhood, Zongo grew up surrounded by poverty and corruption in her home country of Burkina Faso. Rather than let the conditions that surrounded her and the absence of her father affect her negatively, she became determined to make a better life for herself and her family.

“No matter what our situation in life, every single one of us still has the power to make the right decisions. There are always better choices than turning to things like drugs or alcohol or running away,” she adds.



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