Barack Obama’s aunt Hawa Auma Magak dies of stroke

Hawa Auma Magak carrying a portrait of her brother Barack Obama Senior, the father of former US President Barack Obama. [James Omoro, Standard]

The only surviving paternal aunt of former US President Barack Obama has died.

Hawa Auma Magak died of stroke at her home in Kokal Kambero village, Kasipul Constituency, Homa Bay County, early Thursday. She was 79.

“She was admitted at Kisii County Referral Hospital and Rachuonyo South Sub-county Hospital, Homa Bay, and even tried herbal medication, but she succumbed,” said her eldest son Razick Magak.

Razick described Hawa as a loving mother and dedicated businesswoman who solely provided for her family after the death of his father, David Magak, in 1993.

“My mother sold charcoal for 40 years. She started selling charcoal in Kendu Bay town before moving to Oyugis town. She was hardworking and did all to make ends meet,” said Razick.

Hawa Auma Magak selling charcoal in Oyugis town, Kasipul Constituency, June 2016. [James Omoro, Standard]

She was the younger sister of Barack Obama Hussein Senior, the father of former US President Barack Obama.

She was born at Kanyadhiang’ village in Karachuonyo Constituency, Homa Bay County.

Her mother, Abiba Akumu, and father Onyango Hussein Obama later relocated to Alego Kogelo village in Siaya County in the early 1940s.

When Obama Jnr was elected US president in 2008, Hawa became popular in the village and was referred affectionately as Nyar gi Obama, Obama’s sister, by locals.

Barack Hussein Obama Senior. [File, Standard]

Samwel Owida, a resident, described Hawa as a role model who contributed immensely to the empowerment of local small-scale businesswomen.

“She was ever jovial and social. No one could think she was a close relative of the most powerful man on earth, former President Obama. Death has deprived us of a role model,” said Owida.