Former U.S President Barack Obama’s paternal grandmother Sarah Onyango Obama has died at the age of 99 at teaching and referral hospital.
Sarah was the third wife of the paternal grandfather of former US President Barack Obama.
Sarah Obama, popularly known as Mama Sarah, had been admitted to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga teaching and referral hospital in kisumu where she died.
Once a simple country woman, Sarah Obama was for long best known for the hot porridge and doughnuts she served at a local school.
She rose to fame when then US senator Barack Obama along with his wife Michelle, visited her in Kenya in 2006.
Sarah was the third wife of Hussein Onyango Obama, President Obama’s grandfather, a herbalist and a village elder who fought for the British in Burma, now called Myanmar.
Although not a strong blood relation, President Obama often refered 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.
Obama who is linked to her Kenyan family via his father Hussein Barack Obama senior After leaving office, traveled to her grandmother’s home in the village of Kogelo Kenya in 2018, joking that he had been unable to do so in 2015 as his jet was too big to land in Kisumu.
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.
In his message of comfort, the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta mourned the Obama family matriarch as an icon of family values and a philanthropist whose contribution to the progress of the Kenyan nation shall be dearly missed.
“The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation. We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together the Obama family and was an icon of family values,” the President eulogised.
He further noted that Sarah Obama will be remembered by many for her philanthropic work especially in her Nyang’oma Kogelo home in Siaya County where she initiated several community development projects.
“She was a loving and celebrated philanthropist who graciously shared the little she had with the less fortunate in her community,” mourned Kennyata
The President wished the Obama family God’s grace as they mourn their departed matriarch.
Being a strong believer of the Islamic faith, Sheikh Musa Ismail Haji, Chairman of the Kisumu Muslim Association said the deceased will be buried according to Muslim religious customs at her home in Kogelo tommorow morning on March 30.