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Obama sibling writes about abusive father

[ 2009-11-05 11:07]     字号 [] [] []  
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The half brother of US President Barack Obama, who has kept out of the limelight until now, launched a semi-autobiographical book yesterday and announced plans for a full autobiography. His partly fictional novel is entitled Nairobi to Shenzhen.

Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo said at a press conference in Guangzhou that his book is not about his famous sibling but his own life. He has been a resident of Shenzhen, Guangdong province for the past seven years and runs a consulting firm and a barbeque restaurant chain along with Chinese partners.

Barack and Mark had the same father, Barack Obama Sr., who is described in the book as an abusive man who beat his wife and son.

"President Obama has helped inspire me to come to terms with my past," Ndesandjo said.

He plans to donate 15 percent of proceeds from the book to charitable organizations via his Help the Kids foundation. The book has four main themes: domestic violence, the pursuit of dreams, the spirit of service and the power of love.

"I want this book to raise awareness of domestic violence and help improve the lives of disadvantaged children everywhere," he said.

Ndesandjo said his late father, characterized by his mother as a brilliant man, was a social failure. "I remember times in my house when I would hear screams and I would hear my mother's pain," he said.

His American mother, Ruth Nidesand, was Barack Obama Sr.'s third wife. Obama Sr. met Nidesand when he was a graduate student at Harvard University, shortly after divorcing the president's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. Nidesand returned with Obama Sr. to his native Kenya in 1965, where Mark and his brother David were born and raised.

Obama Sr. had four other children in Kenya with his first wife, Kezia. Nidesand and Obama Sr. eventually divorced amid allegations of domestic abuse and Nidesand returned to the US, where she married a man whose surname was taken by Mark Ndesandjo.

"My skin had turned hard, emotionally, for so many years, because of what I'd seen my mother go through," said Ndesandjo. He added that his life had changed since his half brother was elected president and the glare of the media hit him.

Obama is set to visit China between Nov 15 and 18 and Ndesandjo hopes to meet him in Beijing.

"My plan is to introduce my wife to him. She is his biggest fan," he said of his Chinese spouse from Henan province.

Ndesandjo, who speaks Chinese, said Americans can learn from China's culture and its deep-rooted family ties.

"China is about family ... there is a tremendous, wonderful sense of family here."

But Ndesandjo, said he has tried to focus on issues that are dear to him, instead of his family ties and famous brother. He is passionate about music, writing and calligraphy and teaches piano to disadvantaged children.

"I want to be known as a writer, not for my relationship to the president," he said.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Obama sibling writes about abusive father

About the broadcaster:

Obama sibling writes about abusive father

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.