Former US President Barack Obama is set to visit the country next week to pay his last respects to his grandmother, Mama Sarah. The famous son of the sleepy Siaya County village, who was once the most powerful man in the world, will be accompanied his immediate family and a retinue of security apparatus, Mama Sarah died on March 29 aged 99 and was buried according to Islam traditions on March 30. In his condolence message, Obama said they will miss the formidable woman.
“My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as “Mama Sarah” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny. We will miss her dearly, but we’ll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life,” he posted on Instagram.
Obama’s visit to the grave is a way for the former president to link with his ancestors according to Luo traditions. According to Luo elder, Onyanngo Olooo, traditions dictate that people visit the deceased’s home to remember, comfort and please the dead, a ritual known as rapar.
“From a long time ago, we have been visiting the dead’s home to remember them. We eat and dance, and reminisce about our loved one,” he says.