Barack Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Obama, has died in Kenya at the age of 99.
She died on Monday while receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment at a hospital in Kisumu, Western Kenya.
In a tribute message posted on Twitter, the former U.S. President wrote, “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.”
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
“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,” Mr Obama said on Facebook. “When our family had difficulties, her homestead was a refuge for her children and grandchildren, and her presence was a constant, stabilizing force.”
Sarah Obama, a Muslim, was born in 1922 as part of western Kenya’s Luo ethnic group.
She spent decades as the head of a foundation to educate girls and orphans, something she felt strongly about as she could not read herself, AFP reported.
Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, paid tribute to Sarah Obama on Twitter.
“The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation,” he wrote. “We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together the Obama family and was an icon of family values.”