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  • , the step-grandmother of former US President , died Monday at a hospital in western Kenya, said relatives.
  • Mama Sarah, as the step-grandmother of the former US president was fondly called, was a philanthropist who promoted education for girls and orphans.

, the step-grandmother of former US President , died Monday at a hospital in western Kenya, said relatives.

She was at least 99 years old.

Mama Sarah, as the step-grandmother of the former US president was fondly called, was a philanthropist who promoted education for girls and orphans.

She passed away around 4am local time while being treated at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in Kisumu, Kenya’s third-largest city in the country’s west, according to her daughter Marsat Onyango.

“It is true she has gone to be with the Lord,” an emotional Onyango told reporters.

Once a simple country woman, Sarah Obama was for a long time best known for the hot porridge and doughnuts she served at a local school.

But she rose to world fame with the 2008 election of her step-grandson Barack, who became the first black US president.

She was the third wife of the former US president’s grandfather and helped raise his father, Barack Obama, Sr. The family is part of Kenya’s Luo ethnic group.

Providing food, education for orphans

For decades, Sarah Obama has helped orphans, raising some in her home. The Mama Sarah Obama Foundation helped provide food and education to children who lost their parents — providing school supplies, uniforms, basic medical needs, and school fees.

She will be remembered for her work to promote education to empower orphans, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said while offering his condolences to the people of Kogelo village for losing a matriarch.

“She was a philanthropist who mobilised funds to pay school fees for the orphans,” he said.

Her famous grandson often showed affection toward her and referred to her as “Granny” in his memoir, “Dreams from My Father.” He described meeting her during his 1988 trip to his father’s homeland and their initial awkwardness as they struggled to communicate which developed into a warm bond.

She attended his first inauguration as president in 2009. Later, Obama spoke about his grandmother again in his September 2014 speech to the UN General Assembly.

(AFP)

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