Revered by Central Africans as a national martyr, his death is a public holiday in the landlocked country. Barthélemy Boganda, who had been a driving force in the creation of the Central African Republic, died in a mysterious plane crash on March 29, 1959, just before the country’s independence. There was speculation at the time that sabotage caused the crash. A Catholic priest who campaigned for freedom from the French, Boganda ultimately became the first prime minister of the Central African Republic (CAR) autonomous territory. He had intended to serve as the first president of the independent CAR but was killed in the mysterious plane crash before the CAR achieved full nationhood. Since his death and independence, the country has suffered from political instability as most people say their leaders have failed them. Today, as schools, businesses and official government offices remain closed in remembrance of the leading nationalist and politician, many wonder what the CAR would have been like if Boganda had lived. Remembering the national hero of the Central African Republic who died in a plane crash before independence - Face2Face Africa That's an interesting dude.