Death Of Obama’s Aunt Spotlights Politics, Family Relationships

Written by Dana Sanchez

After Zeituni Onyango died in a South Boston nursing home this month, family members gathered at her wake but her nephew, President Barack Obama, did not attend — he was playing golf, NYTimes reports.

Obama helped pay funeral expenses and sent a condolence note for Onyango, his late father’s half sister whom family members described as “the spirit of the Obama family.”

Every complicated family is complicated in its own way, writes Jason Horowitz for the New York times. The Obamas, in that sense, are ordinary, he says. But the natural drift that has occurred within the family — already separated by oceans and languages — is exacerbated by politics.

The president has kept his distance from, and even failed to acknowledge, members of this eclectic family, according to the report. The assorted Obamas living stateside have written memoirs and started Obama foundations, faced drunken-driving and deportation charges.

The Obama family also helped paint a picture of a presidential candidate with global connections — a powerful element of the president’s Kansas-meets-Kenya narrative. African relatives flew in for Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and got royal treatment. Uncles and brothers partied at balls and the whole family posed with the new president on a White House tour.

Since then, the president has embraced the family culturally closer to him — the half sister on his mother’s side, the mother-in-law who lives upstairs, the Ivy League-educated brother-in-law he bonds with over basketball. The Obamas are often relegated to the farther branches of his family tree, according to the NewYorkTimes report.



in NewYorkTimes.