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Death of Sarah Obama, the Kenyan “grandmother” of the former president

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                Sarah Obama, whom former US President Barack Obama considered her grandmother, died Monday morning at the age of 99 in a hospital in Kisumu, western Kenya, we learned with his daughter.

                                    <p>Sarah Obama is no more.  The one former US President Barack Obama considered his grandmother died Monday, March 29 in a hospital in Kisumu, western Kenya.  "She joined the Lord. She died this morning" at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga hospital, her daughter Marsat Onyango told AFP.

She did not die of Covid-19, said family spokesperson Sheikh Musa Ismail. “She was tested and she was not a Covid patient. She had been ill for a week. Yesterday (Sunday) her condition deteriorated, she was rushed to hospital and placed in intensive care. And she passed away this morning, “he explained.

Born in 1922 on the shores of Lake Victoria, the one who was nicknamed “Mama Sarah” was the third wife of Hussein Onyango Obama, paternal grandfather of the American president. This traditional practitioner, local notable, former British army fighter in Burma died in 1975.

Although he has no blood connection with Sarah, Barack Obama has often made it known that he considers her to be his grandmother and has paid her several visits. In Kenya, “Mama Sarah” had become a national celebrity after a visit in 2006 by her step-grandson, who was only a senator from Illinois at the time.

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Distribution of porridge and donuts

His simple life in the Kenyan countryside was turned upside down in November 2008 with the election of Barack Obama as president. The old lady, slightly hunched, with a wide and warm smile, had to stop her usual distributions of hot porridge and donuts in the playground of the primary school of Nyang’oma Kogelo, next to her house.

His modest home in the village of Kogelo, located 500 kilometers northwest of Nairobi near the Ugandan border, became a tourist attraction, soon protected by barbed wire and guards. In 2009, the Kenyan government officially declared Kogelo a protected national heritage.

In recent years, Barack Obama had met her and her family in 2015 in the capital Nairobi during a presidential visit to Kenya. He also visited him in 2018, this time in Kogelo, after his term of office ended.

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement hailed “a strong and virtuous woman, a matriarch who united the Obama family and was an icon of family values.” “She was a loving and valued philanthropist who graciously shared what little she had with those less fortunate in her community,” he added.

Notoriety at the service of international NGOs

After the election of Barack Obama, she put her notoriety at the service of NGOs and international organizations. Camp Maradona, an NGO mainly funded by ex-Argentine football star Diego Maradona fighting malnutrition through sport, had made her its goodwill ambassador.

Sarah Obama also supported the Pan-African Campaign for the Eradication of African Trypanosomiasis and the Tsetse Fly, supported by the African Union (AU).

She will be buried in Kogelo on Tuesday morning according to the Muslim rite, said Sheikh Musa Ismail.

“All (the family members) have been informed, even President Obama, who offered his condolences,” he added.

With AFP


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