The grandmother of former President Barack Obama’s family, Sarah Obama, passed away on March 29, 2021. Age-wise, she was 99.
In her isolated Kogelo hamlet, Mama Sarah, as the former president’s stepgrandmother was affectionately known, and promoted education for girls and orphans. According to her daughter Marsat Onyango, she passed away at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in Kisumu, Kenya’s third-largest city, in the country’s west, about 4 a.m. local time.
She passed away this morning. Onyango told The Associated Press over the phone, “We are saddened.
A family representative, Sheik Musa Ismail, stated that “Mother was sick with natural ailments she did not die of Covid-19,” adding that she had tested negative for the illness. He claimed that before being taken to the hospital, she had been unwell for a week.
He added that President Barack Obama had expressed his sympathies to his family.
With a picture of the young Obama and his grandmother, the former president wrote on Twitter, “My family and I am mourning the passing of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, fondly known to many as “Mama Sarah,” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny. Although we shall mourn her greatly, we will be grateful for her lengthy and exceptional life.
She will be buried on Tuesday before noon, and Islamic funeral customs will be followed.
“The loss of Mama Sarah is a serious blow to our country. President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman, a matriarch who kept the Obama family together and was an icon of family values.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o expressed his sympathies to the people of Kogelo village for losing a matriarch and said she will be remembered for her work to encourage education to empower orphans.
He said that she was a philanthropist who raised money to cover the orphans’ tuition costs.
President Obama’s grandfather’s second wife, Sarah Obama, raised his father, Barack Obama, Sr. The family is a member of the Luo ethnic group in Kenya.
In his autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” President Obama repeatedly displayed fondness for her and referred to her as “Granny.” He recalled meeting her during his 1988 visit to the country of his father, and how their initial communication difficulties turned into a loving bond.
2009 saw her at his first inauguration as president. Then, in his September 2014 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama brought up his grandmother once more.
Sarah Obama has raised some orphans in her house and aided them for many years. Children who lost their parents were given food and schooling thanks to the Mama Sara Obama Foundation, which also aided with school tuition, uniforms, and basic medical requirements.
Even as an adult, she claimed in a 2014 interview with AP, letters would arrive but she couldn’t read them. She claimed that she didn’t want any of her kids to be illiterate, therefore she made sure that every member of her family attended school.
In order to ensure that the president’s father received the education she never received, she recalls riding him six kilometers each way to school every day from the family’s native hamlet of Kogelo to the larger town of Ngiya on the back of her bicycle.
Sarah Obama stated, “I love education because children realize they can be self-sufficient,” particularly girls who, far too frequently, had no opportunity to attend school.
She declared, “If a woman receives education, she will educate not only her family but the entire town.”
She was given the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Education Pioneer Award in 2014 by the UN in celebration of her efforts to encourage education.