The grandmother of former United States President Barrack Obama, Sarah Onyango Obama has died. She died on Monday in Western Kenya at aged 99.
“It is true she has gone to be with the Lord,” her emotional daughter Marsat Onyango told reporters.
Sarah Obama, popularly known as Mama Sarah, had been admitted to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu where she pass away.
She rose to fame following the election that put his stap-grandson barack as the first US black president in 2008
Sarah was the third wife of the former US president’s grandfather and helped raise his father, Barack Obama, Sr. The family is part of Kenya’s Luo ethnic group.
Onyango Obama, who died in 1975, is said to be the first man to swap goatskin clothing for trousers in his village. He returned from the war in Burma with a gramophone and a picture of a white woman he claimed to have married.
Although not a blood relation, President Obama often referred to Sarah as his grandmother, calling her “granny”. On his trip back to Kenya as US president, he met with her among other family members in Nairobi.
After leaving office, he travelled to her home in the village of Kogelo in 2018, joking he had been unable to do so in 2015 as his jet was too big to land in Kisumu.
Obama is linked to his Kenyan family via his father Barack senior, a pipe-smoking economist who Obama has admitted he “never truly” knew.
He met Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, in Hawaii. But he walked out when Obama was just two and died in a car crash in Nairobi in 1982, aged 46.
Obama senior had worked in the government of Jomo Kenyatta, who led Kenya at independence from Britain until his death 14 years later in 1978.
The two men did not get on well, with Kenyatta the father of Kenya’s current president Uhuru Kenyatta sacking Obama senior, and blackballing him for further government jobs, and ostracisation that would help fuel alcoholism.