Tragedy has struck Barack Obama’s family. His step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, died on March 29, 2021 at a hospital in Kisumu, Western Kenya for treatment for an “undisclosed ailment,” according to CNN. She was 99 years old.
“Mama Sarah” was the third wife of Barack’s paternal grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama. Former president Obama called her “Granny” or “Dani,” he revealed on Twitter, posting a photo of them together and writing, “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.”
The loss of Sarah is profound, and Kenyan authorities reacted to her death in a statement. “The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation. We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together the Obama family and was an icon of family values,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Read on for the details of “Mama Sarah’s” remarkable life.
"Mama Sarah" will be remembered for her philanthropic efforts
Sarah Obama was known for giving back to her community, most notably through her Mama Sarah Obama Foundation. Her goal was to provide Kenyan children with educational opportunities, as well as giving them the tools to live a better life. Plans at the foundation included the building of an early childhood development center, fixing a primary and secondary school and creating a medical center. In addition, “Mama Sarah” also created the Mama Sarah Scholarship Fund.
There was nothing more important to her than education, and she had big dreams of creating a top-notch school system for children. “My main focus is to put in instructors and systems that will help children acquire education, but I’m seeking a world-class education that is comparable to any education system anywhere. This is the legacy that I would like to leave behind,” she told Leaders.
Sarah Obama’s efforts did not go unnoticed, and she received the United Nations’ Pioneer Award in 2014 for her efforts to improve education, according to CNN.
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