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ELECTION 2022

What new letters by Barrack Obama Snr reveal

NAIROBI
By Adapted from New York Tmes | Jun 20th 2016 | 2 min read

A cache of letters Barrack Obama Senior, father to US President Barrack Obama, wrote almost 60 years ago have surfaced, painting a picture of an enthusiastic Kenyan scholar with a grand American dream.

The yellowing letters published by the New York Times chronicle the dreams and struggles of a young man in Kenya. His exploits in America have in a way changed the course of American history and given the American dream new meaning.

They include some in which he candidly explained his humble background, stating the occupation of his father, Hussein Obama, as a cook, as he pleaded for financial help from universities and foundations in the US.

In one letter in 1959, the accomplished typist who yearned to be an engineer and journalist states: "It has been my long cherished ambition to further my studies in America."

They also consist of his transcripts from the University of Hawaii and Harvard University and references from professors, advisers and supporters.

They were discovered by an archivist who stumbled on a file containing the letters in a stack of boxes in Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

Interestingly, when he first applied for scholarship money to cover his studies in the US, he stated that he was married to Kesia Aoko and had one child and that his referees were Dr Gikonyo Kiano, Tom Mboya and Dr Frank Laubach of New York.

However in 1963, when he applied for a grant to help cover his graduate studies at Harvard, he did not fill the portion about marital status and number of dependants.

The romantic bug had bitten him while pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii in 1960 when he met Ann Dunham, a classmate.

Although he already had a wife and two children in Kenya, he married her the following year, after she became pregnant.

Their son was born on August 4, 1961. But Barack Obama Sr never mentioned his new wife and son, not even in his scholarship applications.

As president, Mr Obama has spoken openly and repeatedly about the void his father left in his life.

Barack Obama Sr went home to Kenya in 1964, when President Obama was three years old, and returned to visit his son only once, for a month, when he was 10.

"Due to poor health on the part of my father," he wrote on another scholarship form, "I had to leave school to work and help."

A senior White House official said President Obama would be interested in seeing the documents after he leaves office next year, but declined to comment on why he had not responded to the letter or to follow-up correspondence.

Ironically the US president is best remembered for his book, Dreams From My Father, which traces his roots, the land of his father where he met his blood relatives, the matriarch Mama Sarah Obama, his father's stepmother and forged a lasting bond.

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