By B. John Zavrel
Auma Obama, being interviewed by the German journalist Reinhold Beckmann. US President Obama's sister was invited by the German TV ARD to appear on the famous talk show "Bei Beckmann". The leading ARD anchorman has his studio in the city of Hamburg. Beckmann presented Auma Obama nationwide as an intelligent, well informed woman. The interview was held in the German language, since Auma Obama has studied and worked in West Germany for more than ten years.
Berlin/Washington (bpb) US President Barack Obama has an intelligent, cosmopolitan half-sister. Her name is Auma Obama. In Germany she has now found nationwide attention in a high-level talk show at the leading official TV Station ARD. Many Germans are very happy that the charming lady has "roots in Germany". Auma Obama confessed: "Germany really influenced and impressed me, and that contributed to turning me into what I am."
On the television broadcast one could observe: Obama's sister in Kenya is a well educated person. In nearly fluent German she gave clear answers to difficult and politically dangerous questions, without compromising his famous brother. No doubt one can say: Congratulation, Mr. President on such a precious member of the large Obama family";
Auma Obama was born in a Kenyan village in 1960. She started learning German at the Goethe Institute in Nairobi already at the age of 17. In 1980, she came to Germany, to study the German language at Heidelberg, on a DAAD scholarship ( German Academic Exchange Service), and graduated with a Magister Artium degree in 1987. In 1988, she began--once again funded by the DAAD--to work on a doctorate at the University of Bayreuth, the famous town of the Richard Wagner Music Festival.
Altogether she spent 16 years of living, studying and working in Germany. Mostly she stayed in Berlin, Heidelberg and Bayreuth. Than she become the East Africa Coordinator for the Aid Organisation Care in Kenya.
Auma Obama wrote her dissertation on the concept of work in the German and Kenyan literature and culture. As a student, she already got to know all the ins and outs of everyday German life. She took on casual work at a hospital, a supermarket, and as an interpreter at fairs and exhibitions.
In the late 1980s, she briefly worked in Kenya as a contract lecturer for German language at the Goethe Institute and the Carl Duisberg Society. Back in Germany, she held political seminars at the SPD affiliated (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland) Friedrich Ebert Foundation. During her stay in Germany, several attacks were committed on foreign immigrants. Following an attack on a asylum seekers hostel in Lübeck, she was invited to attend the "Presseclub" program broadcast by Germany's ARD TV station and to comment on xenophobia in Germany.
Three souls in Auma's heart
Auma Obama is the mother of an 11 year-old daughter, and lives again in Kenya, where she works as the East Africa Coordinator for the Aid Organisation Care. In an interview that she gave to the "Stern" magazine in August 2008 about her experience in Germany, Auma Obama said: "I really liked living in Germany very much. The country really influenced and impressed me, and it contributed to turning me into what I am." Somehow, there are now three souls in her heart: an African, a German and an American.
Auma Obama met Barack, her younger brother by one-and-a-half years, for the first time 25 years ago, just after their common father had been killed in an accident. At the time, she travelled to the United States to visit Barack Obama. A couple of years later, she drove through Kenya with him in her VW Beetle and showed him the home of his ancestors. Since then, the two siblings have been in close contact. And so Auma also made an appearance for Barack Obama at the nomination of the Democratic Party.
When the American presidential candidate Barack Obama came to Berlin on an official visit in July 2008, Germany's newspapers were full of reports about him. But at the same time, the media interest also focused on his half-sister, the Kenyan Auma Obama. Since then, she started to become engaged in supporting German-American cooperation on the private level. Her contacts are definitely useful to strengthen the German-American relations. Many Germans feel that President George W. Bush did not care enough for the dialog with Germany, even though for decades it has been considered to be the most trustworthy and loyal partner of the USA in Europe.
© PROMETHEUS 138/2008
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 138, December 2008