Former United States President, Barack Obama’s family tree stretches from his father’s small Kenyan village to the White House in one generation. The former president’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama was born in Kendu Bay, Western Kenya, in 1895 (the family grave in the village of Kogelo says 1870). He was called Hussein after he converted to Islam. He served as a porter in Britain’s colonial-era, King’s African Rifles during World War I and as a cook for a British officer during World War II. He got married to several women and then had a son in 1936 with his second wife Akumu. The son was name Barrack Obama (Senior).
Barrack Obama’s father, Barack Obama Senior, a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, born to Hussein’s second wife Akumu came of age during Kenya’s independence and won a scholarship to study in Hawaii in 1959. While away for his study as a foreign student on scholarship, he met Obama’s (Junior) mother, Ann Dunham in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. They got married in Wailuku, Maui on February 2, 1961 but the relationship did not last as they were separated in late August 1961 same time Obama was born. Obama’s mother had moved with their newborn son to attend the University of Washington in Seattle for one year.
Obama Sr. completed his undergraduate economics degree in Hawaii in June 1962, and proceeded to study at the Harvard University Graduate School on a scholarship. In March, 1964, he got divorced from his wife, Ann and came back to Kenya the same year and remarried. He later died in an automobile accident in 1982, when his son, Obama Jr. was 21 years old.
Prior to his death, he visited Barack Obama (Junior) in Hawaii for the first time in 1971 when Obama was only 10-years-old. Barack Obama Jr grew up and built his career and became the 44th president of the United States and also the first African-American to serve as U.S. president.
The most powerful man in the world, Barrack Obama has little contact with his father’s still surviving family members in Kenya, one of whom is his grandfather’s (Hussein) third wife, Sarah Onyango Obama. She is Obama’s oldest living relative, whom he calls “granny”. Below is a list of other Roots and Relatives of President Obama living both in Kenya and beyond.
1. SARAH ONYANGO OBAMA (Step-grandmother)
Sarah is the third wife of Obama’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama and the president’s oldest living relative. Kenyans know her as ‘Mama Sarah’. She lives in Kogelo, western Kenya.
SAID OBAMA (Half-uncle)
He is a Kogelo-born and raised resident and uncle to United State’s President Barack Obama. Son of Sarah and Hussein, he lives in Kisumu, western Kenya. He runs a supply business and cyber cafe in Kisumu and has become the de-facto spokesman for the Kenyan Obamas.
YUSUF OBAMA – Half-uncle
He is of the Roots and Relatives of President Obama and the son of Sarah and Hussein. Not enough is known about his life and whereabouts. Thought to live in Kisumu.
MALIK OBAMA – Half-brother
Son of Kezia Obama, Barack Sr’s first wife. He established the Barack H. Obama Foundation in honour of his father and made a failed bid for political office in Kenya in 2013. He lives in Kisumu.
AUMA OBAMA – Half-sister
The photo shows Auma, the daughter of Kezia and Barack Sr with Barack Obama’s wife Michelle. She operates a charity in Kenya and lives in Nairobi. She wrote a 2012 memoir called ‘And Then Life Happens’.
ABO OBAMA – Half-brother
Abo Obama standing clockwise from the left is the son of Kezia and Barack Sr. He manages a shop and lives in Nairobi.
Obama’s half-brother standing next to him was born in 1970. He is also the son of Kezia and Barack Sr. He operates a business and lives in Nairobi as well making him one of the roots and Relatives of President Obama based in Kenya.
GEORGE OBAMA – Half-brother
Son of Jael Otieno and Barack Obama Sr, born just months before his father’s death. In 2010 he published an autobiography called ‘Homeland: An Extraordinary Story of Hope and Survival’. He lives in western Kenya.
The Obamas Who Live Elsewhere
KEZIA OBAMA – Stepmother
Barack Sr’s first wife, mother of Malik and Auma, and later Abo and Bernard. She has lived in Britain for years and was granted British citizenship in 2011. She is based in Britain.
JAEL OTIENO – Stepmother
Jael is Barack Sr’s fourth wife and mother of George. She lives in the US.
RUTH NDESANDJO – Stepmother
She is Barack Sr’s third wife whom he met while studying at Harvard after separating from Obama’s mother. She lives in Nairobi. In the picture above, Ruth Baker Ndesandjo sings with her son Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo at the launch of his new book “An Obama’s Journey.
MARK NDESANDJO – Half-brother
Another member of President Obama’s Roots and Relatives is Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo. He is the son of Ruth Ndesandjo and Barrack Sr. Mark posing with Barrack Obama and his wife in the photo above, is a classical pianist who wrote a 2014 memoir called An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery Across Three Cultures. He lives in China.
MAYA SOETORO-NG – Half-sister
Daughter of Obama’s mother Ann Dunham and his step-father Lolo Soetoro. Soetoro-Ng is a university teacher. She lives in Hawaii.