Obama visits Kenya en route to SA

#Payingtribute: South Africa launches Nelson Mandela banknotes on 100th birth anniversary

Former President Obama in ancestral home Kenya to launch sister’s project

Upon his arrival in Kenya on Sunday, Obama paid courtesy calls on President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga, who have mended fences after a deadly election season past year.

"We are here to welcome our brother Barack Obama, but we have several challenges because we are not able to see our son", said Boniface Rachula, a farmer from Kogelo who was turned away from the event.

President Kenyatta gifted the former US President - who is a celebrated author - with two books on Kenya's youth and success stories in the last 50 years, namely Aspirations of a Generation, Youth of Kenya and Kenya at 50.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama addresses delegates during the launch of Sauti Kuu resource centre near his ancestral home in Nyangoma Kogelo village in Siaya county, Kenya July 16, 2018. "I fell in love with her and even though I hadn't grown up with her I was determined to better understand the life of my father and that of his people", said Obama.

#Payingtribute: South Africa launches Nelson Mandela banknotes on 100th birth anniversary

Opening a school in his father's home village of Kogelo in western Kenya, Obama praised a rapprochement between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga but said they must do more to heal the rifts between Kenya's 40-odd ethnic groups. "In fact he has developed the community through giving iron sheets for people to build their houses", he said. He was born in Hawaii, where he spent most of his childhood raised by his mother, a white American from Kansas.

Obama did not have a close relationship with his economist father, who left when he was just two and soon returned to Kenya.

From Nairobi he took first a "very slow train" and then a bus with "some chickens in my lap and some sweet potatoes digging into my side".

Obama is now headed to South Africa where he will give a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and meet with 200 young Africans in the Obama Foundation's leadership program.

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