Obama’s brother is in Bracknell
By OLIVER HARVEY
Chief Feature Writer
Published: 26 Jul 2008
HE may be living in a Bracknell council house, but soon he could be dining with his brother at the White House.
The Sun was the first newspaper to track down and speak to Bernard Obama, 37.
And he said of Democrat candidate Barack: “I’m very proud of my big brother.
Back Row L-R: Unknown, Barack Obama, Obama’s half-brother Malik, Unknown, half-brother Abo, half-brother Bernard. Front Row L-R: Half-sister Auma, step-mother Kezia, step-gran Sarah,
“It’s quite a funny feeling that he might be the next President of the USA.”
Muslim Bernard – an avid Manchester United fan and Sun reader – is staying with his bingo-loving mum Kezia, 67, who has lived in the Berkshire new town for six years.
He was glued to the TV news in the modest suburban bungalow last night as Barack, 46, was due to arrive in Britain.
Bernard leads a quiet life, running a car parts firm in Nairobi, Kenya.
But he is a regular visitor to the UK to visit Elvis fan Kezia.
She married Barack Obama Snr in Kenya in 1957 when she was a teenager.
He later left for the US and went on to meet Ann Dunham, who gave birth to his now widely acclaimed son.
Obama Snr, a Kenyan goatherd who became a leading economist in his east African homeland’s government, was killed in a car crash in 1982.
Barack Jnr was 21 and Bernard 12. He said: “Our father passed away when I was young and I didn’t get the chance to get to know him very well.
“When you lose your dad at such a young age, that’s when you really miss him.”
Bernard smiled when he spoke of his famous half-brother. He said:
I was around 17 when I first met Barack.
He was visiting Kenya and it was obvious from the way he spoke and his charisma that he was going to be a success.
He is charming, very good company and very charismatic.
I’ve met him since with his wife Michelle in Kenya. She’s very nice, a very strong and intelligent person. I don’t think we will see him on this visit to Britain. It’s official business and he’ll be very busy.Close_quote
Bernard is remaining with Kezia for the next month as she recuperates from illness.
Barefoot and dressed in cream shorts and red T-shirt, he said: “I love coming to Britain because I love football and I like reading about it in The Sun.
“I’m a big Manchester United fan but I think Barack’s more into basketball.”
Bernard converted to Islam 18 years ago. The dad of one said: “I’m a Muslim, I don’t deny it. My father was raised a Muslim.
“But it’s not an issue. I don’t know what all the hullabaloo is about.”
Barack is a staunch Christian. A recent cartoon in the New Yorker magazine caused a furore by portraying him as a turban-wearing Muslim and his wife as a terrorist.
In February, photos emerged of Barack in traditional Somali robes during a trip to Kenya in 2006.
But Bernard dismissed jibes about Barack’s religion and said there was no significance to the photos.
Barack Obama’s stepmother Kezia
He added: “If you go to Japan or Nigeria you put on the traditional dress. People are trying to look for ways to tarnish him.”
In his biography, Dreams From My Father, Barack told of meeting Bernard in Kenya.
He wrote: “That sweetness, the lack of guile, made him seem much younger than his 17 years.
“As we stepped into the street, Bernard draped his arm over my shoulder. ‘It’s good to have a big brother around,’ he said, before waving goodbye and vanishing into the crowd.”
The pair’s dad left Kenya in 1959 when he took up a US scholarship. Kezia, then three months’ pregnant with daughter Auma, already had a year-old son Malik to look after.
Barack Snr met Barack’s mum Ann in Hawaii, and she gave birth to the now presidential hopeful in August 1961.
The Democrat’s dad returned to Kenya in 1965 and Kezia subsequently gave birth to two sons, Abo in 1968 and Bernard in 1970.
Barack’s former brother-in-law Ian Manners, 55 – divorced from Bernard’s and Barack’s sister Auma – is writing a book about his in-laws.
Daughter Akinyi, 11, spent Christmas with Barack in the US. She said: “I asked him if I could meet Beyonce. He smiled and said he’d see what he could do.”
Barack Obama and wife Michelle with Ian’s sister Diane Meisl and nephew Julian Meisl at Ian and Auma’s wedding reception in Wokingham in August, 1996.
Barack attended Ian’s 1996 wedding to Auma and famously ran out of a pub in Wokingham, Berks, during Ian’s stag bash when a raunchy dancer took to the stage.
Businessman Ian said: “We were having a few drinks, then a stripper dressed as a St Trinian’s schoolgirl appeared.
“She was no Miss World and it was the last thing I wanted. As soon as Barack saw what was about to happen he made a hasty retreat.
“He was in politics already and left the pub immediately.”
Ian added: “I played a couple of rounds of golf with him in 1997.
“We had to go to a municipal course because golf clubs wouldn’ t have been keen on a black man playing on their course back then.
“He is very competitive and beat me both times. It was obvious Barack was going to get to the top.”
Bernard agreed, saying: “Barack is going to win the election, definitely, and I want to be in the US for his inauguration.
“He will be a breath of fresh air for the world.”