Who was Mama Sarah Obama?
Sarah Obama, whose full name was Sarah Hussein Obama, was the Kenyan matriarch and the step-grandmother of former President Barack Obama who was reportedly announced dead at the age of 99 on Monday, March 29. She was the second wife of President Obama’s grandfather.
She helped raise his father, Barack Obama Sr. The family is part of Kenya’s Luo ethnic group. The former president fondly referred to her as “granny” in his memoir ‘Dreams From My Father.’ He recalled meeting her for the first time during a trip to Kenya in 1988.
Since she only spoke Luo, they had to communicate through interpreters.
How old was Sarah Obama?
Born in 1922, Sarah Obama was 99 years old at the time of death, March 29, 2021.
Mama Sarah Obama Dies
Barack Obama tweeted an emotional tribute with a picture of him as a young man when he visited her in Kenya. He wrote: “My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as “Mama Sarah” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny.”
“We will miss her dearly, but we’ll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life.”
Mama Sarah Obama Death
Although her cause of death was not immediately revealed, Sarah’s daughter confirmed to The Standard newspaper in Kenya that she died while undergoing treatment at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya.
“She died this morning. We are devastated,” Marsat Onyango. told The Associated Press on a phone call.
Mama Sarah Obama House
Ms. Sarah lived at Barack Obama’s father’s house in Kogelo village, western Kenya.
Mama Sarah Obama Obituary
She attended his first inauguration just over two decades later in 2009.
Obama also spoke about his grandmother again in his September 2014 speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
Sarah, who was an advocate for literacy and child education, recalled cycling six miles to take the president’s father to school every day from the family’s home village of Kogelo to the bigger town of Ngiya to make sure he got the education that she never had.
Mama Sarah Obama Burial
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said that Sarah will be remembered for her work to promote education to empower orphans.
“She was a philanthropist who mobilized funds to pay school fees for the orphans,” he said.
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) March 29, 2021
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was among those who tribute to Sarah on Monday, describing her as a “strong, virtuous woman.” “The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation,” Kenyatta said. “We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together with the Obama family and was an icon of family values. She was a loving and celebrated philanthropist who graciously shared the little she had with the less fortunate in her community.”