By Samuel Ouma
The former U.S. President Barrack Obama has described her late grandmother Sarah Obama as a person who was strong, proud, hard-working, unimpressed with conventional marks of status, and full of common sense and good humor.
In a statement, Obama celebrated his grandmother’s long and remarkable life, noting that she will be missed dearly.
Mr. Obama started by narrating Mama Sarah’s early life saying she lived in the tiny village of Alego in Nyanza Province, on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Having no formal education and married off to a much older man while she was a teen in line with the ways of her tribe, the deceased lived in a mud-and thatch brick and without electricity or indoor plumbing. Besides, she tended to her goats and chickens, grew an assortment of crops, took what the family didn’t use to sell at the local open-air market, and raised eight children.
“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,” read part of the statement.
According to the former U.S. head of State, Mama Sarah indirectly contributed to his success by raising his father though he was not her biological child.
“Although not his birth mother, Granny would raise my father as her own, and it was in part thanks to her love and encouragement that he was able to defy the odds and do well enough in school to get a scholarship to attend an American university. When our family had difficulties, her homestead was a refuge for her children and grandchildren, and her presence was a constant, stabilizing force. When I first traveled to Kenya to learn more about my heritage and father, who had passed away by then, it was Granny who served as a bridge to the past, and it was her stories that helped fill a void in my heart.”
“During the course of her life, Granny would witness epochal changes taking place around the globe: world war, liberation movements, moon landings, and the advent of the computer age. She would live to fly on jets, receive visitors from around the world, and see one of her grandsons get elected to the United States presidency. And yet her essential spirit – strong, proud, hard-working, unimpressed with conventional marks of status and full of common sense and good humor – never changed,” said Mr. Obama.
Sarah Obama died at Kenya’s hospital on early Monday morning after a short illness.
She is set to be buried on Tuesday at her home in Kogelo, Siaya County, Kenya’s former Nyanza Province.
The deceased died aged 99.