Sarah Obama, the paternal step-grandmother of Barack Obama passed away at a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya on Monday 29th March 2021 at the age of 99. The cause of her death has not been confirmed but her family shared that she had been ill a week prior and that she did not die of the Covid virus.
She was the third wife of Obama’s paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama. She had raised the former President’s father, Barack Obama Sr., in Nyanza Province in the Western region of Kenya. Barack Obama has shared that she was commonly called ‘Mama Sarah’ in the Obama family and that she will be dearly missed. On his visits to her, she would share stories with him about his father and his extended family.
The President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatt has stated that the country has lost a “strong, virtuous woman” who supported and held the Obama family together. Later in life, she ran a foundation to educate girls and orphans. She attended Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration and became an icon in Kenya as thousands of tourists gathered to meet the great grandmother of the former President of the United States.