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An Obama victory foreseen in Africa

November 4, 2008
Barack Obama’s step-grandmother Sarah Obama beams with pride in confident anticipation of her grandson’s victory.
Kogelo, Kenya (GIN) – In the traditional manner, a bull was readied for slaughter this week in the homestead of Barack Obama’s late father in western Kenya.

The East African nation temporarily changed its clocks to U.S. time, with many determined to stay up all night to watch the TV coverage. At the Obama family home in the rural village of Kogelo, technicians wired up a giant TV to watch the election proceedings.

“The reason we are here is that we are looking forward to a great day to celebrate,” said Malik Obama, the candidate’s step-brother, dismissing any suggestion that his relative might not become the first Black U.S. president. “We are not considering that possibility. I am not,” he said.

In Nigeria, the Lagos-based newspaper Punch had caught the fever: ‘‘It’s D-Day!” and “(Nobel Laureate Wole) Soyinka predicts Democrats’ victory.”

‘‘Day of decision in US” (The Nation); ‘‘Obama, the White House beckons” (Sun); ‘‘Obama set for historic win” (Daily Independent) and ‘‘Obama or McCain, who will be America’s president today?” (Champion) were some of the other headlines.

“To the rest of the world, Obama is easily categorized as that example of stirring and brilliant leadership that should be found not just in America, but anywhere in the world today,” wrote physics Professor Angeyo H. Kalambuka of the University of Nairobi.

“As Americans go to the polls to elect their 44th president,” wrote Kenyan reporter Henry Owuor, “the world has already given them a choice – Sen. Barack Obama.”

2 thoughts on “An Obama victory foreseen in Africa

  1. mary Post author

    Barack’s grandfather had several wives, as was customary. His blood paternal grandmother died, and Sarah, as the surviving wife, became Barack’s grandmother, according to that kinship system. In our lingo, she’s his step-grandmother.

    As an anthropology major, I loved studying kinship. In Africa, as in most of the non-Euro world, all sorts of safeguards are built in to keep family ties strong and prevent children from being orphaned no matter what. Typically, a child grows up calling her or his father’s other wives (if that’s the custom) and his mother’s sisters “mother” and his father’s brothers “father,” forming bonds that serve well in case a parent is lost.

    If someone who has personal experience with this sort of kinship differs with what I recall from my studies, please correct and educate me.

    Mary Ratcliff, editor
    SF Bay View


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