‘We Will Miss Her Dearly’: Obama’s Kenyan Grandmother Dies At 99
Former President Barack Obama’s step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, died Monday at a hospital in Kenya, aged 99.
She passed away at 4 a.m. local time at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya, her daughter Marsat Onyango told the Associated Press.
Sarah Obama had been undergoing a treatment for the past week but “did not die of COVID-19,” a family spokesperson said, according to the report. Barack Obama sent his condolences to the family, he added. (RELATED: Obama Returns To Kenya And Meets With His Family Members)
“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,” he wrote in a tweet.
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. pic.twitter.com/avDY4f1PVu
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 29, 2021
The late matriarch was a Muslim and ran a foundation in Kenya to help educate orphans and girls, BBC reported. She received the Education Pioneer Award from the United Nations in 2014 for her work in promoting girls’ education in the African country, AP reported.
Barack Obama described in his memoir “Dreams From My Father” the awkwardness between him and “Mama Sarah” caused by communication difficulties during his trip to Kenya in 1988, according to the AP. They later developed a bond, and Sarah Obama attended his 2009 Presidential inauguration, USA Today reported.
“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,” President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.