What To Know About Barack Obama's Eight Half-Siblings

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One of the facts you never knew about Barack Obama is that his immediate family spread out across three continents. Barack, who led America from 2009 to 2017, comes from a large family of seven living half-siblings. His father, Barack Obama Sr., met his mother, Ann Dunham, in 1960 and married her a year after.

However, Obama Sr. had already been married — a fact he neglected to reveal to Dunham. Obama Sr. and his first wife, Grace Keziah Obama, met and married in 1956 and had two children together. Consequently, Dunham divorced Obama Sr. in 1964, three years after Barack's birth. That same year, he met and married his third wife, Ruth Beatrice Baker, a Jewish-American woman he met at Harvard.

Meanwhile, Ann Dunham also moved on. She married Lolo Soetoro in 1966, but the couple eventually split. Similarly, Obama Sr. and Ruth Baker were together for nine years before they divorced in 1973. After this divorce, he had several relationships with various women, fathering one more child until he died after a car accident in 1982. This complex history has given former President Barack Obama eight half-siblings.

Malik Abongo Roy Obama

Barack Obama Sr. and Keziah Obama's first child and son, Malik Abongo Obama, was born in 1958 in Kenya. Barack and Malik first met in 1985, three years after their father's death. They served as best men at each other's weddings — though Malik went on to marry multiple times. Although Malik initially supported his half-brother, their relationship deteriorated for unclear reasons. In 2016, Malik publicly criticized Barack on ITV's Good Morning Britain.

As a dual citizen of America and Kenya, he expressed frustration over the long wait times required to see his brother. He also criticized Obama's policies in the Middle East. This public disapproval came after unsuccessfully contesting for public office in Kenya in 2013. However, Malik's criticisms didn't end there. In 2020, Wion News reported that Malik labeled Barack a "snob" and openly declared his support for Donald Trump. Apparently, Malik was less than impressed with the stunning transformation of Barack Obama. He even attended the presidential debate of 2016 as Trump's guest.

Malik has also suggested that his issues with Barack have to do with the former president's alleged financial neglect of the Obama family, per Brics Magazine. He released a book in 2020 titled "Big Bad Brother From Kenya," which details his experiences with the Obama presidency, his charitable work, his foray into politics, and his transition to becoming a staunch Trump supporter and Republican.

Auma Obama

Auma Obama was born in 1960, two years after her brother, Malik Obama. She spent her early years in Kenya before moving to Germany for higher education. Auma studied at the University of Heidelberg and later at the University of Bayreuth. Her career began in journalism and marketing, which eventually led her to humanitarian work. In 2007, she returned to Kenya to work for CARE International, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Three years later, she founded the Sauti Kuu Foundation, which supports disadvantaged children and youth.

Auma and Barack Obama formed a strong bond when they first met during his visit to Kenya in the 1980s. They traveled together and delved into their family history, as discussed in Barack's memoir "Dreams From My Father." When Barack ran for president, Auma was a vocal supporter. While most of her public appearances focus on her foundation, she occasionally leverages her connection to her well-known brother to benefit those in need. The former president's first sister is also an author. She published her memoir, "And Then Life Happens," in 2012, offering insights into her unique life experiences. In 2018, a year after Obama's presidency ended, he visited Kenya to support the inauguration of a new sports and vocational center under Auma's foundation.

Mark Obama Ndesandjo

Mark Obama Ndesandjo was born to Barack Obama Sr. and his third wife, Ruth Beatrice Baker, in 1965. Like his half-sister Auma, Mark is dedicated to humanitarian efforts. His organization, the Mark Obama Ndesandjo Foundation, assists disadvantaged children through art.

Mark and Barack first met in Kenya in 1988, but their relationship has been somewhat strained. In his book "Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery," Mark reflects on their initial meeting, hinting that they didn't instantly take to each other. He told The Associated Press that the publication of his book further complicated his relationships within the Obama family, including with Barack (via Politico). The book candidly discusses the abuse Mark and his mother endured from Obama Sr. and critiques certain aspects of Barack's memoir, "Dreams from My Father." If Mark's allegations of abuse and abandonment are true, one can clearly see how Barack Obama's childhood affected his relationship with his daughters.

Despite this, Mark has established his own identity outside the shadow of his famous brother. In 2001, Mark relocated from the United States to Shenzhen, China. He is a talented pianist, poet, and calligrapher, in addition to being an author. Mark also had a full brother, David Ndesandjo Obama, who tragically passed away in an accident after the death of their father.

Abo Samson Obama

Abo Obama, another half-brother of former President Barack Obama, was born in 1968. He was conceived after Obama Sr. returned to his first wife, Keziah, in Kenya. In his memoir "Dreams From My Father," Barack recounts his initial meeting with Abo, which was somewhat uncomfortable. Abo had immediately inquired about what Barack had bought him from America. When Barack gifted him a portable cassette player, he expressed disappointment when it wasn't from the Sony brand.

Abo's personal life has been marked by controversy. Ian Manners, who was married to Auma Obama, described him as somewhat of a playboy. In 2009, the Daily Mail reported an incident involving Abo, where he faced allegations of an attempted assault on a minor in the UK. While the authorities questioned him, he was released with a caution for a public order offense. However, Daily Mail further reported in 2023 that it was discovered that he had entered the U.K. using a false identity. Following this, Abo was denied further entry into the U.K. and continued to reside in Kenya.

Maya Soetoro-Ng

Maya Soetoro-Ng, born in 1970, is Barack Obama's only maternal sibling. Born in Indonesia, Maya moved to Hawaii and later to New York with her family. She pursued a career in education before joining the Obama Foundation as a consultant. Maya also has two published children's books, including "Ladder to the Moon," which she promoted in 2011.

Despite their varying paths in life, it is evident that Barack and Maya developed a strong bond. In an interview with People, Maya spoke about their mother's ability to love unconditionally, echoing sentiments that Barack shared in his writings. In "Dreams From My Father," Barack recounts Auma Obama's reflections on how Ann Dunham had helped Barack Obama Sr. long after their divorce by sending him thoughtful letters with updates on Barack. She also highlighted Dunham's compassionate support for their father during his challenging times.

Despite having different fathers, Maya and Barack have supported each other through life's trials, including coping with the loss of their fathers. They have a close relationship, spend holidays together, and support each other's endeavors. Impressively, Maya actively campaigned for Barack during his presidential bid. She dedicated significant time and effort to help secure his victories.

Bernard Obama

Bernard Obama, the youngest child of Barack Obama Sr. and Keziah Obama, was born in 1971. Unlike his more public siblings, Bernard has largely stayed out of the spotlight. His brother, former President Barack Obama, shares some insights about Bernard in his memoir, "Dreams From My Father." Barack met 17-year-old Bernard during a visit to Kenya in the 1980s. He described him as an athletic teenager passionate about soccer and basketball.

However, current details about Bernard's life are sparse. According to a report by New York Magazine, Bernard owns an auto parts store in Kenya, a career choice that aligns with his interests as described in Barack's memoir. In the book, Barack recalls a conversation with Bernard, who expressed his interest in auto mechanics but mentioned financial limitations. Barack encouraged him to work hard and offered to help pay the necessary fees with their sister, Auma. In 2014, the Daily Mail reported that Bernard entered a new chapter in his life by marrying Lily Achoch. The couple received a public congratulatory message from Barack Obama.

George Obama

The youngest of Barack Obama Sr.'s children, George Obama, was born in 1982. His mother was Jael Otieno, a Kenyan woman to whom Obama Sr. was never married. Unfortunately, George was born the same year that Obama Sr. passed away. Barack and George first met when George was just five years old, a time when he was too young to understand the complexities of their family dynamics. George experienced a challenging upbringing, dealing with drug and alcohol addiction and often finding himself in the slums of Kenya.

Despite these hardships, George has been open to public interviews. In 2008, The Telegraph reported that he lived in the slums in abject poverty and was embarrassed about his situation. However, in a later interview with The Times, George clarified that he had been misquoted and expressed contentment with his life despite his challenges. He suggested that his situation had been exaggerated by those opposing Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Additionally, in a conversation with CNN, George refuted claims of being abandoned by his family.

In 2013, George appeared in the documentary "Obama's America," which was critical of the then-president. While George defended his brother's decision not to provide financial assistance, the publicity surrounding his impoverished living conditions was not a good look for Barack Obama.