The leader of the leftist faction of Ouédraogo's government, Thomas Sankara, became prime minister but was later imprisoned. Efforts to free him led to the popularly-supported 1983 coup d'état, in which he became president. Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso and launched an ambitious socioeconomic programme which included a nationwide literacy campaign, land redistribution to peasants, railway and road construction and the outlawing of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. Sankara was overthrown and killed in the 1987 coup d'état led by Blaise Compaoré – deteriorating relations with former coloniser France and its ally the Ivory Coast were the reason given for the coup.
Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. The words "Burkina" and "Faso" both stem from different languages spoken in the country: "Burkina" comes from Mossi and means "upright", showing how the people are proud of their integrity, while "Faso" comes from the Dioula language and means "fatherland" (literally, "father's house"). The "bè" suffix added onto "Burkina" to form the demonym "Burkinabè" comes from the Fula language and means "men or women". The CIA summarizes the etymology as "land of the honest (incorruptible) men".