Barack Obama arrives in Kenya to help launch sister’s sports center

Barack Obama in Auckland, New Zealand on March 22, 2018. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)


For the first time since he left the White House, former U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Africa on Sunday for a trip to visit with family and to meet with officials.

Obama stopped in Kenya, birthplace of his late father, on Sunday for a quick trip to visit relatives and officials before heading to South Africa for a birthday tribute to late South African President Nelson Mandela, various news organizations reported.

On Sunday, Obama met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who tweeted, “It was a great pleasure to welcome you back @BarackObama.” Images on social media showed the two leaders shaking hands and walking while deep in conversation.

Obama is in Kenya to help launch a sports and training center founded by his half-sister, Auma Obama, the Associated Press reported.

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Obama also will meet with Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga while he is there, according to the AP. Odinga is working with the Kenyatta administration after an invalidated presidential election and tense political standoff, The Hill reported.

Obama announced the trip last week on Twitter, writing, “I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture and remarkable stories.”

On Monday, Obama will fly to Kisumu, Kenya, and drive about 44 miles to his late father’s home village of Kogelo, Siaya County, the AP reported.

Artists have painted murals on the streets of Kogelo and bars are advertising a drink dubbed “Obama Brew,” CNN reported. On Twitter, Kenyans are using hashtags a #Obamareturns and #Obamakaributena which, translated from Swahili, means “Obama welcome again,” according to CNN.

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“We are upbeat about the coming of the President Barack Obama,” Siaya County Governor Cornell Rasanga Amoth told the AP, adding that he will ask the United States’ first Black president to help establish a Barack Obama University.

While in South Africa, Obama will deliver a speech marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and meet with 200 young Africans who are taking part in the Obama Foundation leadership program, according to the AP.