Meet Auma Obama, Barack Obama’s older half-sister. She is the second most prominently known paternal relation of the former United States president, after their elder brother, Malik Obama.
Both share the same father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a former top Kenyan government official.
Auma Obama Biography
Auma Obama was born in Nairobi in 1960 to Barack Obama Sr. and his first wife, Kezia. She was practically raised in Kenya but has lived in several parts of the world, most notably Germany and the United Kingdom.
Auma Obama left for studies in Germany under the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship. She studied German from 1981 to 1987 at the University of Heidelberg. After undergraduate, Auma pursued a graduate degree at the University of Bayreuth. By 1996, she had obtained a PhD degree. Her dissertation was centered on the German conception of labor as it affects literary works.
Auma, who also studied contemporary dance in Germany, spent some time of her life performing with a dance group. From there she unfolded her theatrical talents and enrolled in a film school in Berlin.
When she returned to Kenya, Auma became a community/development worker under the umbrella of CARE International. Her dream was to nurture Kenya’s younger generation towards a productive and better life.
Her specific mission with CARE was to propagate the Sport for Social Change initiative. She saw to the co-operation of organizations across Africa and from Bangladesh in improving the social conditions of the people, especially for the girl child.
Her Foundation, known as Sauti Kuu foundation, gave a structure to her humanitarian vision. Sauti Kuu is a Swahili expression which means strong voices.
The foundation through various engagements aims at providing African youths with personality development; Education/training; and sustainable economic growth. The wholesome idea is to help the growing African generation to make the best of their lives irrespective of poverty.
In 2015, Dr. Obama launched the Sauti Kuu Act Now Awards, in Berlin. The award event aims to encourage children and young people of ages between 12 and 25 to participate in social, humanitarian and environmental projects.
Just like her brothers; Malik and Barrack Obama, Auma is a talented author and renowned speaker. She is known for her book and autobiography: And Then Life Happens: A Memoir.
Auma says she was fascinated by the works of German authors like Heinrich Böll and Wolfgang Borchert. Her eloquence in public speaking fine-tuned her journalism skills whilst taking her to several international socio-economic platforms.
In 2011, Nigerian born film director, Branwen Okpako, an old schoolmate of the intuitive motivator directed and produced a documentary on her.
In the documentary, titled The Education of Auma Obama, Okpako took us through Auma’s education, career and her life as an African individual on a mission. The director did not also fail to show her relationship with her father and Barack Obama.
The documentary gave an insight into Dr. Auma’s post-colonial and feminist identity. Growing up in the 60’s and in an extremely conservative society, Auma was observant to the place of youths and most especially the females in Africa.
With her exposure from years of studying abroad, she came to appreciate her continent and was keen on opening the eyes of her people to much casually neglected opportunities that can improve their state of well-being.
The Education of Auma Obama won the Best Diaspora Documentary Award at the 2012 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
Dr. Auma Obama is a recipient of many humanitarian awards such as the 2015 German Speakers Association Award; Look Magazine World Human Rights Award (2015); 2014 Paris Award; Kiwanis Club Stuttgart Award (2016) amongst other accolades.
For 3 years in a row, she has been the Patron of the International Storymoja Festivals in Kenya. The festival is designated to scout and discover young literary talents.
She is a member of the World Future Council, member of the Board of Trustees of the ‘German Reading Foundation’ as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies at the University of Bayreuth.
In Kenya, Dr. Auma Obama is a member of the Governing Council of the Kilimanjaro Initiative. The council organizes an annual event where less privileged youths are given the opportunity to explore the Kilimanjaro mountain. Climbing Africa’s tallest mountain was a significant choice by the council to foster self-confidence in them.
Dr. Auma Obama, after completing her PhD program, married an English man, Ian Manners. The couple had a daughter, Akinyi, who is pictured below with her mother, together before deciding to part ways.