Sarah Obama, the matriarch of former U.S.President Barack Obama’s Kenyan family has died, relatives and officials confirmed Monday. She was at least 99 years old. Mama Sarah, as the step-grandmother of the former U.S. president was fondly called, promoted education for girls and orphans in her rural Kogelo village.
She passed away around 4 a.m. local time while being treated at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital, according to her daughter Marsat Onyango. she had been ill for a week before being taken to the hospital. President Barack Obama has sent his condolences to his family. “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,’ the former president posted on Twitter, with a photo of the young Obama with his grandmother. Sarah Obama, was the second wife of President Obama’s grandfather and helped raise his father, Barack Obama, Sr. The family is part of Kenya’s Luo ethnic group. President Obama often showed affection toward her and referred to her as “Granny” in his memoir, “Dreams from My Father”.
For decades, Sarah Obama has helped orphans, raising some in her home. The Mama Sara Obama Foundation helped provide food and education to children who lost their parents, providing school supplies, uniforms, basic medical needs, and school fees. In recognition of her work to support education, she was honored by the United Nations in 2014, receiving the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Education Pioneer Award.