Kenya’s Nairobi — Former US President Barack Obama’s patriarch of a Kenyan family, Sarah Obama, has died, confirmed by relatives and officials on Monday. She was at least 99 years old.
Mama Sara promoted education for girls and orphans in her rural Kogero village when the former US President’s step-grandmother was lovingly called. According to her daughter Marsat Onyango, she died around 4 am local time while being treated at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, the third largest city in western Kenya.
“She died this morning. We’re devastated,” Onyango told The Associated Press by phone.
“Mom had a normal illness that didn’t die from COVID-19,” said Sheikh Musa Ismail, a family spokesman, adding that she tested negative for the illness. He said she was ill for a week before being taken to the hospital.
He said President Barack Obama was informed of his death and expressed his condolences.
She will be buried by noon on Tuesday, and the funeral will be held under Islamic rituals.
“Mama Sara’s death is a big blow to our country. We have united the Obama family and lost the strong and noble woman who was a symbol of family values,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta. I did.
She will be memorable in her work to promote education to empower orphans, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo said in condolences to the people of Kogero village who lost their patriarch. Stated.
“She was a philanthropist who mobilized money to pay for her orphans,” he said.
Sara Obama was President Obama’s grandfather’s second wife and helped raise his father, Barack Obama Sr. The family is a member of the Luo tribe in Kenya.
President Obama often showed affection for her and called her “grandma” in his memoir “Dream from My Father.” He explained that he met her when he visited his father’s hometown in 1988 and the first awkwardness they had when they had a hard time communicating. She attended his first inauguration as president in 2009. Obama then spoke again about his grandmother in his September 2014 speech to the UN General Assembly.
For decades, Sara Obama has helped orphans and raised some in her home. The Mama Sara Obama Foundation helped provide food and education to children who lost their parents — providing school supplies, uniforms, basic medical needs, and tuition fees.
In an interview with AP in 2014, she said she could receive the letter as an adult but couldn’t read it. She said she didn’t want her children to be illiterate, so she saw all the children in her family go to school.
She pedaled the president’s father, six miles behind his bike every day, from his family’s hometown of Kogero to the larger town of Nyangoma, confirming that he had an unprecedented education. I remembered that.
“I love education,” said Sara Obama. Because children “learn to be self-sufficient.” Especially for girls who didn’t go to school too often.
“If a woman is educated, she will not only educate her family, but the entire village,” she said.
In recognition of her achievements in supporting education, she was commended by the United Nations in 2014 and won the first Female Entrepreneurship Day Education Pioneer Award.