Praying for the Obama family

On March 29, 2021, Sarah Obama, the grandmother of former President Barack Obama’s family, died. She was 99 years old.

Mama Sarah, as the former president’s stepgrandmother, was lovingly called, supported education for girls and orphans in her remote Kogelo village. She died at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, the third-largest city in Kenya, in the country’s west, at around 4 a.m. local time, according to her daughter Marsat Onyango.

Her death occurred this morning. Onyango said over the phone to The Associated Press, “We are disappointed.

Sheik Musa Ismail, a family representative, said that “Mother was sick with natural ailments she did not die of Covid-19,” adding that she had tested negative for the disease. He stated that she had been ill for a week prior to being transported to the hospital.

He continued by saying that President Barack Obama had sent his condolences to the family.

The former president posted a photo of himself and his grandmother along with the statement, “My family and I am in deep sorrow over the loss of our dear grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as “Mama Sarah,” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny. Despite our deep sorrow, we will be appreciative of her long and amazing life.

Islamic funeral rites will be observed at her burial on Tuesday before noon.

“Our nation has suffered a serious loss with the passing of Mama Sarah. We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman, a matriarch who held the Obama family together and was an icon of family values, said President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The matriarch of Kogelo village passed away, and Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o extended his condolences to the community. He added that she will be remembered for her efforts to promote education and empower orphans.

He said that she was a charitable individual who raised funds to pay the orphans’ tuition.

Barack Obama, Sr. was raised by Sarah Obama, the second wife of the president’s grandfather. The family is a part of Kenya’s Luo ethnic group.

President Obama frequently showed his affection for her and called her “Granny” in his book, “Dreams from My Father.” He remembered meeting her when he traveled to his father’s homeland in 1988, and how their initial communication problems evolved into a passionate relationship.

She attended his initial inauguration as president in 2009. Obama then mentioned his grandmother once more in a speech he gave to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014.

For many years, Sarah Obama has helped several orphans and fostered some of them in her home. The Mama Sara Obama Foundation provided food and education to children who had lost their parents, as well as assistance with school fees, uniforms, and minimal medical needs.

She asserted in a 2014 interview with AP that she continued to be unable to read letters even as an adult. She insisted that she make sure every member of her family attended school since she didn’t want any of her children to be illiterate.

She remembers riding the president’s father six kilometers each way on the back of her bicycle to school every day from the family’s small village of Kogelo to the larger town of Ngiya in order to make sure he obtained the education she never did.

“I love education because children realize they can be self-sufficient,” Sarah Obama said, referring in particular to girls who, far too frequently, have no opportunity to attend school.

“If a woman gets an education, she will educate not only her family but the whole town,” she proclaimed.

In honor of her efforts to promote education, she received the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Education Pioneer Award from the UN in 2014.

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