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Former U.S. president Obama’s Kenyan grandmother dies aged 99

Sarah Onyango Obama, the grandmother of former US President Barack Obama died on Monday (March 29) in a hospital in Kisumu. She was said to be 99 years old.

Marsat Obama, Sarah’s daughter, told local newspapers her mother died at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu at 4.45am on March 29. She had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday (March 28) morning.

Sarah, popularly known as ‘Mama Sarah’ in her Nyangoma-Kogelo home village, was a Kenyan educator and philanthropist who promoted education for girls and orphans. She was the third wife of the paternal grandfather of Barack Obama.

Former President Obama often referred to her as “Granny” in his memoir, “Dreams from My Father.” He described meeting her during his 1988 trip to Kenya, his father’s homeland, and their initial awkwardness and communication struggles that eventually developed into a warm bond. She attended his first inauguration as president in 2009.

In recognition of her work to support education, she was honored by the United Nations in 2014, receiving the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Education Pioneer Award.

Her body is expected to be buried on Tuesday (March 30).

(Production: Njuwa Maina, Jackson Njehia, Michael Fiorentino)

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