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Obama’s sister writes memoir on family’s past

Barack Obama’s sister Auma, who was raised in Africa, has written a new memoir, And Then Life Happens, tracing their family’s ties back in Kenya.

books Updated: May 01, 2012 13:25 IST

Barack Obama’s sister Auma, who was raised in Africa, has written a new memoir tracing their family’s ties back in Kenya.

Auma, who now works at CARE International in Nairobi, didn’t meet Barack until the 1980s and it’s unclear how much new ground the book breaks. But she did have an interesting vantage point: that of the Obama family in Africa and how her brother’s political career impacted it.

In published excerpts of ‘And Then Life Happens,’ she wrote about meeting Hillary Clinton after the nasty primary race in 2008 and the media frenzy that descended on her family as Barack Obama’s star rose.

“I had believed that I could easily deal with the media. After all, I thought, I had worked as a journalist myself when I lived in Germany. By providing my number, I had mainly wished to protect my grandmother, whom everyone called Mama Sarah, from all the media fuss. But I had not been prepared for such a flood of calls,” the Politico quoted her as writing.

“Because Mama Sarah was also Barack’s grandmother, everyone wanted to speak to her. They wanted her to tell them about his family, to bring to light the missing pieces of the puzzle that Barack Obama was for them. Who exactly was this black man and son of an African who had dared to aspire to the office of president of the most powerful nation in the world? Where were his roots? Who was his family?

“In search of answers to these questions, scores of reporters from across the globe boarded planes and traveled to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. From there they continued on to rural western Kenya, to Alego Nyangoma Kogelo, an unassuming little village not far from the shores of Lake Victoria that was our ancestral home. There, on the Obama family homestead, lie the mortal remains of Barack Hussein Obama Sr. (1936–1982) and Onyango Hussein Obama (1879–1975), the father and grandfather, respectively, of the forty-fourth American president. And to this day, it is the home of our grandmother, Mama Sarah,” she wrote.

First Published: May 01, 2012 13:25 IST

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