Using the notion of Afropolitanism, which refers to highly mobile and
well-connected “Africans of the world,” this article examines the relative privileges
of university graduates within Burkina Faso across generational divides. Comparisons
emerge between cohorts graduating in the 1970s and the 2010s. While graduates
of the 1970s enjoyed access to a privileged status through their local university
education and a related network of global cosmopolitan qualifications and credentials,
contemporary students have only limited access to this route of class mobility.
The frustration engendered by this helps to explain the shape of the uprising that
ousted the president of Burkina Faso in 2014, as the diminishing access to Afropolitan
identities pitches the younger generation of students into different emerging
constellations of political mobilization.