KOGELO, 10km past the Kisumu airport, is exactly 1km south of the equator. The Senator Obama Secondary School apart, there are no outward signs of Kogelo’s place in the family history of the US president – and little evidence of the development and investment that the media speculated would transform it after the 2008 US elections. Obama’s family roots can be traced back to the homestead of Mama Sarah Onyango Obama, third wife of Barack’s paternal grandfather, 1km or so out of the “centre” of Kogelo, to the northwest, which is where Barack’s father (who died in a car crash in 1982) is buried. The homestead is now a gated and askari-guarded plot, with several tents for the security detail in the front garden and Mama Obama herself the host of frequent local delegations – although you can take a look from the outside, and possibly even pay a visit. Plans to build an Obama Museum here have been put on hold while the competing claim of the village of Kanyadhiang near Kendu Bay – where Obama Senior was born, according to some family members – is considered.
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