In the face of recent accusations from President Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik, that the American president has all but abandoned his paternal family in Kenya, Face2Face Africa unearthed a video clip of a young Obama on his first visit to his father’s family’s homestead in Kogelo, Kenya. In the video, Obama can be seen presenting a middle aged woman (most likely a relative) with a jacket he apparently brought for her on his visit.
In the short video, Obama appears like someone who cares deeply about his ancestral people. Even though Obama is unable to speak the local language and the woman can neither speak or understand English, the two manage to carry on a chummy conversation with the help of a translator.
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Obama first visited his paternal family in Kenya in 1987, just months before he went on to study at Harvard University. Since then, he has visited the country three times, including as a U.S. Senator and last year as president. Obama barely knew his father growing up and most of the memories he has about him only coming from narratives he could piece together from close relatives. Despite his disconnect with Obama Sr., he has still managed to forge an amazing connection with his paternal roots.
Ahead of the third and final U.S. presidential election debate on October 20th, President Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, announced his support for republican candidate Donald Trump, adding that he would be attending the debate as his guest in what was clearly an attempt to antagonize his distant sibling.
While it is not exactly clear when or why relations between the two brothers soured, it’s obvious that Malik is bitter and resentful. He has repeatedly criticized President Obama for doing little or nothing to support the extended Obama family back in Kenya.
In an interview with the New York Post, Malik claimed that President Obama was unwilling to support a foundation Malik had started in their late father’s name. “My brother didn’t help me at all,” he said adding that “he wanted me to shut it down when I set it up.”
Relations between the two have not always been frosty. In fact, Malik was the best man at President Obama’s wedding to Michelle in 1992. Obama would later return the favor at Malik’s wedding. In addition, several picture records of the Obama family show the two had at one time enjoyed a close relationship.
In 2013, following his half-brother’s second successful presidential campaign, Malik attempted to cash in on the Obama brand by making a run for the governor of Siaya, the district where the Obama family is from. He lost woefully, securing just 1 percent of the vote.