Mama Sarah Onyango Obama, the Kenyan grandmother of former US President Barack Obama, died early this Monday at the age of 99 in the city of Kisumu , in western Kenya, after suffering a stroke last September, as confirmed by her daughter, Marsat Obama.
” She was diagnosed with a stroke in September last year and had problems related to blood sugar ,” the daughter of the deceased, who was admitted this Sunday to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University Hospital, the reference center in the area, and died at 4.45 local time (1.45 GMT) on Monday.
According to Kenyan media, citing sources from the medical center, the old woman came to the clinic due to diabetes problems, a disease that had caused her to be admitted to hospital on several occasions during the last two years, said a neighbor.
Mama Sarah Obama, who will be buried between now and Tuesday in the Kisumu Muslim Cemetery, was the third wife of former President Obama’s paternal grandfather and had become a celebrity in the town of Kogelo (in Siaya County, also al west of the country) where he lived, known as “Obama’s town”.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed his condolences to the family in a statement where he assured that the country has lost “a strong and virtuous woman” who was “an icon of family values.”
Likewise, the country’s main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, lamented the death of Mama Sarah Obama on the social network Twitter, and stated that ” she became a symbol of the resilience and confidence of African women .”
For his part, the governor of the homonymous county of Kisumu, Anyang Nyong’o, offered his condolences to the loved ones of the deceased and stressed that the old woman “was not only the matriarch of the extended Obama family, but also a maternal figure for many people and a philanthropist who helped raise funds to pay school fees for many orphans and vulnerable children and supported many widows ”.
The figure of Obama, the first American president of African origin, has always aroused great interest in Kenya, the country where his father was born and where many consider him one of their own.
In July 2015, the former US president took advantage of his visit to this East African country – his first as head of state – to reconnect with his paternal family, with whom he has little contact.
Obama saw his father only once in his life, when he was ten years old, although he was so influenced that in 1988 he traveled to Kenya for the first time to learn about his roots and returned to Kogelo in 2006, already a senator for the state of Illinois. .