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Obama's Kenyan relatives cheer win

world Updated: Nov 05, 2008 10:18 IST
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Barack Obama's Kenyan family erupted in cheers on Wednesday, singing "We are going to the White House!" as Obama became the first African-American elected president. In the western village of Kogelo, where the Democratic candidate's late father was born, police had tightened security to prevent hordes of media and others from entering the rural homestead of Obama's step-grandmother, Sarah.

But the elderly woman and several other relatives came outside on Wednesday to cheer for Obama in a country where the Democrat is seen as a "son of the soil."

Across Africa - where Obama is wildly popular - people stayed up all night or woke before dawn on Wednesday to watch the US election results roll in. In the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, people chanted "Obama! Obama!" as the results were announced on television. "He's in!" said Rachel Ndimu, 23, a business student who joined hundreds of others at the residence of the US ambassador for an election party that began at 5 am "I think this is awesome, and the whole world is backing him."

Many people hope an Obama presidency will help this vast continent, the poorest in the world. Some are looking for more US aid to Africa, others simply bask in the glory of a successful black politician with African roots.

Obama was born in Hawaii, where he spent most of his childhood reared by his mother, a white American from Kansas. He barely knew his late father. But that has not stopped "Obamamania" from sweeping the continent, and particularly Kenya, where his picture adorns billboards and minibuses.