August 20th, 2008
01:52 PM ET

Barack Obama's 'lost' brother found in Kenya

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/20/art.vert.obamabrother.jpg width=292 height=320]
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on telegraph.co.uk
Nick Pisa
Reporting from Rome

The Italian edition of Vanity Fair said that it had found George Hussein Onyango Obama living in a hut in a ramshackle town of Huruma on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Mr Obama, 26, the youngest of the presidential candidate's half-brothers, spoke for the first time about his life, which could not be more different than that of the Democratic contender.

"No-one knows who I am," he told the magazine, before claiming: "I live here on less than a dollar a month."

According to Italy's Vanity Fair his two metre by three metre shack is decorated with football posters of the Italian football giants AC Milan and Inter, as well as a calendar showing exotic beaches of the world.

Vanity Fair also noted that he had a front page newspaper picture of his famous brother – born of the same father as him, Barack Hussein Obama, but to a different mother, named only as Jael.

He told the magazine: "I live like a recluse, no-one knows I exist."

Embarrassed by his penury, he said that he does not does not mention his famous half-brother in conversation.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Global 360°
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Amy, Chicago

    We all look for news that is objective- We are entitled to our opinions which is what we have been protecting for over 200 years –

    FYI people we need to protect it – at all efforts –

    My concern – the bloggers are so vehement – I wonder what kind of influence this has on the general public?

    August 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  2. Sandi AZ

    I am sure Obama has offered his half brother help and probably has helped him in some way. We all have family we do not know well and try to do what we can, when we can. I agree with many of you here that CNN is really going with John Mcain. Check on Jogn McCain's lst marriage and the crippled wife he cheated on, also that story about the cross was stolen from the book of a Soviet soldier called "Gulag" by Solzhenitsyn. That to me is very digusting, to steal another persons story for his own benefit. Check out all the dirt and get it out in the open!

    August 20, 2008 at 9:14 pm |
  3. Amy, Chicago

    Everyone in this forum is trying to speak for Obama –

    He has never said this brother IS his responsibility, nor has the brother expected to be taken care of.

    Are you all venting your own personal life expectations?

    I wil have to agree, from this blog, with Bill Maher...this public can't be goverened.

    August 20, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  4. JC- Los Angeles

    Barack Obama was raised by a white mother and white grandparents yet wrote memoires about lessons learned from his father; I've never understood that one.

    Perhaps he could get his half brother George a book deal, book advances and write yet another memoir of lessons learned from his brother George.

    I bet Michelle is on the phone right now with their publisher.

    August 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  5. Nicole in Alabama

    To Mike, Syracuse, NY:

    I am not convinced about McCain relationship with his 1st family. Why weren't they mentioned in his "war hero" book wrote by his daughter if everything is peaches and cream between everyone. And I have yet to have seen his 1st wife or kids speak at all about McCain anywhere and I watch the news daily. So I must be missing something.

    Also why isn't there any talk about Cindy "former" drug abuse that resulted in the DEA getting involved. Is that the reason why she is crying her wrist hurt is to get more painkillers? Michelle seems to be fair game all the time.

    All I am saying is that when it comes to "character" McCain gets a free ride and Obama is dogged out about everything. I just waiting for the real McCain to show his true colors and I'm not talking about red, white and blue either.

    August 20, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  6. peacelovr

    interesting but what is you point? Has he chosen to live like this?
    Does he like being a recluse – but ready to change his ways? Is he embarassed
    about Obama or for Obama? Also – was he long lost or was he actually found in
    2006 by Obama? Which is it? How long has he actually been lost? Do we know
    from this article the interaction between this brother and Obama – or what Obama
    has done or not done to reach out to him?

    We do know that Obama has worked among the poor in Chicago's south side. We
    know he is for policies that aid the middle/lower class.

    I am not sure from this article anything about Obama's relationship with this
    particular half-brother born when he was 20 by a father he hadn't seen since age
    11 and a woman he did not know.

    August 20, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  7. Larry

    Who is John McSame; is he any relation to socialismobamarxism?

    August 20, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  8. Larry

    Was their nothing in Obama Sr.'s will for George to inherit? I don't see that the majority of posts on here are saying that BHO is obligated to assist his half brother, even Hitler didn't feel that way about his family he thought they should try to make their own way in life.

    George Obama could come over here and attend Harvard as a 'legacy' student, since his dad went to Harvard.

    August 20, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Cynthia

    It is amazing how these reporters go and dig up stuff. Senator Obama had not seen his father since he was 2 or 3 years old. His father went back to Africa and had other children. I'm sure the mother and grandmother who still lives there knows that he exist – it may be more to it than the story tells. There are a lot of people who have half brothers, sisters, etc. due to divorce or non marriage – example Cindy McCain's children.

    August 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  10. Gina

    I want to understand why some of you feel that Obama's half brother is his responsibilty?

    August 20, 2008 at 6:58 pm |
  11. Heather

    It sort of reminds of the documentary "Grey Gardens".Only this guy isn't eccentric,just poor.

    August 20, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  12. Jeanette

    I am not an Obama fan by far, however, I don't see why Obama should even consider helping this man any more than any other person who (willingly) lets himself live under these conditions. He states he decided to turn his life around and go to a technical school. Why didn't he do this a long time ago. He has been living like this for 10 years and now decides to change it? He also says he has lost contact with his Mother. Sounds to me like some of the people in our country who wouldn't do what their parents wanted to do so took out on their own and failed miserably. I am a firm believer in tough love and if I were his family, I wouldn't begin to help him. GROW UP George Obama!

    August 20, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  13. Pat

    Tammy I'm just curious, have you got a good word about anyone? Except John McSame of course! Every time I see a post from you your attacking someone and usually Obama! Do you ever have a congenial thought?

    What your grandfather did and what anyone else's did is completely irrelevant and especially to this forum.

    August 20, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  14. Elizabeth for Obama

    Barack's father left his mother when he was 3 years old. Barack's grandmother raised him. What does this have to do with him.

    Now you can do a story on Carol McCain and how she and John McCain were still married when he was having an affair with Miss Cindy. Then lied to Cindy about ihis age and in his book. He wrote they got a marraige license after him and Carol were divorced. That too was a lie. He was still married to Carol when he were to Arizona and got a marraige license.

    That is the disgrace. Now he wants to lead this nation. I don't think so.

    August 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  15. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    What our parents allow us to do as children with half-siblings from their other relationships is one thing. What we choose to do about those relationships as adults is a completely different matter. This story speaks volumes about the self-centeredness of Barack Obama. I know because my grandfather had multiple half-siblings and made very different choices than the senator. My grandfather had five half-siblings (one from his mom, four from his dad). He claimed all of them, helped them when they needed it, helped their kids when they needed it, and made sure his own sons and grandkids knew we were all family. My dad's first cousin said it best, that growing up they were all the same to my grandfather, all blood, all worthy of his love and care. This neglect on Barack's part for his half-brother says volumes about the levels of dysfunction in the family tree and Barack's need to ignore his own. If he can neglect blood, who's to say what else he can neglect once he's in charge of this nation? CNN had every right to publish this. This speaks to Obama's character once again and judgement about ethical behavior towards others.

    August 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  16. Larry

    Dori. There's quite a bit on Wikipedia about John McCain's marriages. Are you working on a school project? I'm sure that there is all kinds of information on the internet and the Library of Congress that would assist you in your research.

    August 20, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  17. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Nicole in Alabama. McCain supported both his ex-wife and children from his first marriage and has an excellent relationship with those children. They are far from 'forgotten'. Carol McCain has supported John in his campaigns, and says of the 2008 election that he's the best one for the job. If his first family holds no grudges, what gives you the right to? Why not leave the lying to Obama? He's the pro.

    August 20, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  18. Dori in AZ

    Would you kindly do a piece on John McCain's ex-wife, Carol, and the three children he had (two adopted, one biological) from that marriage?

    August 20, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  19. Dori in AZ

    So, if this 26yo man is Senator Obama's brother. . .

    Senator Obama was around 20yo and in college when this young man was born, right? To some other woman and a father who had abandoned Senator Obama when he was a toddler, and who had only visited him briefly after that, right? I would understand, then, why Senator Obama is not close to this half-sibling.

    Lots of men – through miscellaneous relationships and marriages, in every country, and in every war – leave children who are born to their wives, lovers, and victims indiscriminately in their wake....

    This young man is not Senator Obama's responsibility.

    August 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  20. Larry

    Amazing, John McCain has never done a ounce of good in his entire life; Barack Obama has lived his entire life as a saint. Just ask any obama supporter.

    August 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  21. Gina

    Also, you think he is the only one that lives in those conditions in Kenya? Please!

    August 20, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  22. Gina

    I don't think this low or an attempt to put Obama down. Just proof that you can't choose your bloodlines.

    I think CNN is doing a good job of showing both sides of both candidates. I always pay attention to what Candy has to say. Maybe some you haven't been listening.

    I did not know that about McCain, it seems alot of people don't. I'm glad it was posted on the blog.

    August 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  23. Nicole in Alabama

    I am starting to lose a lot of respect for CNN. What does this story have to do with the campaign. We all know that Obama father left him and his mother when he was a small child and I am more than sure he has fathered other kids when he went back to Africa but what does that have to do with Obama. Nothing! Is this another attempt to put Obama down?

    Why don't you write an article about McCain forgotten kids from his first marriage that he neglected for a younger wife after cheating on his wife when she was sick. Oops, I forgot we cannot say anything bad about the former POW and america war hero. My bad!

    August 20, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  24. Lis Alexandra from Capital of Texas

    I agree with Teresa, it sounds as if there's an indication that while his half-brother lives in poverty, he is living it up in the United States, or is it that somehow the media thinks that we in the U.S. should solve all other countries problems. ??? Oh, wait a minute, that would be getting too involved in other countries (i.e. Iraq, Pakistan, Georgia, etc. ), somewhere do we draw the line, when we need so much help to improve our own United States. . .
    and then there's Grandma's comments, I agree, she is pointing out that while under the guise of media coverage of the Saturday Pastor Rick Warren Forum with the 2 candidates, CNN ended up saying McCain came out better, or they slanted it that way, as we see Grandma pointing out, its evident the same is found in this piece of Journalistic Achievement, finding a brother of color with the same last and middle name, wow !!
    Have you checked McCain's bio with a similar micro-analytic viewpoint. .???
    Do we Now think that Obama's Answers during the Forum last Saturday were any less thoughtful, because he wasn't thoughtful enough to find any child on the planet whom his father engendered and make him/ or them his responsibility. . ???

    August 20, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  25. Lesley

    Doesn't Cindy McCain have half siblings, that were cut out of the will? I have yet to hear CNN report on that.

    August 20, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  26. Amy, Chicago

    Did anyone think this may not be McCain camp exposing this but perhaps the Clintons....

    August 20, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  27. Emma

    Grandma, I'm curious as to why you think Obama has "knowledge and judgment of complex military affair[s]." Being "right" about Iraq is hardly proof that he's an expert on military affairs. About the forum, for the most part, they were both asked the same questions. McCain did a better job and numerous analysts all seem to agree. I love how when Obama has a bad day it's always someone else's fault.

    About Obama's brother, I don't think this story was meant to "put down Obama." Since we don't really know alot about him, I guess this is just another piece of the puzzle. There is nothing embarassing or degrading about having a relative who is not as successful as you are.

    August 20, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  28. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Just because they share the same father does not mean Obama is obligated to take care of this "lost" brother no matter how terrible the living conditions are. I don't know much about the history of their family but it appears Obama's father started a new family so to each his own.

    August 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  29. Teresa

    This story confuses me; the facts are presented clearly enough, but I simply do not understand how any of it is relevant. It seems to be an indictment of Senator Obama for having the audacity to live well while his half-brother lives in poverty, but it is well noted that neither his father nor any of his father's other children have ever been a part of the Senator's life. While I sympathize with the plight of George Obama and the millions of others throughout the world who live on just as little, there is nothing aside from genetics by which these two men can be associated.

    My father also had a child with whom I share no relationship. Am I to be judged by the standard of living held by this stranger?

    August 20, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  30. Maritza

    What a crazy twist, if true and I'm sure Obama knows very well of his scattered family, the guy is 26 years old. He looks like he sure could use his help or could have used his brothers help all along, sad some rag magazine had to find him.....


    August 20, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  31. Larry

    I think its wonderful that his half-brother has been located. The conditions in which he was found to be are not relevant; in my genealogy I have found the 'odd' relation lived in squalor but I am very pleased to have been able to add that person to my tree.
    No matter if you find a wealthy or dire straits relation, they are all family.

    Every family should have a designated genealogist.

    August 20, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  32. Gecko

    Cindy and Grandma are both correct.

    Honestly his half brother should not accept charity even if offered because everyone has it in themselves to do better. Barack Obama's extended family has nothing to do with his ability to run a nation nor his character. 360 this is kind of low....

    August 20, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  33. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    If this story is true I'm sure Barack will help him out. Very interesting if it is true............

    August 20, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  34. Sam Johnson


    I agree with your comments for the most part, but I am curious how they pertain to this article about Obama's half brother living in Nairobi.

    August 20, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  35. Cindy

    OK...what does this supposed to mean? Is it an attempt to put down Obama in a round about way for how his half brother lives in poverty while Obama is rich? It's not up to him to take care of anyone else but his immediate family.

    This has no bearing what so ever on our politics so why is it even worthy to be added on the 360 blog?


    August 20, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  36. Grandma

    Does McCain ever do anything besides complain. The media is doing such a good job promoting John McCain at the expense of Barack Obama. There is no objectivity there. Take for instance the forum Saturday night. After it was over, CNN talked about how good McCain was. What? He did his typical stump speech. He could not look the pastor straight in his face to answer any of the questions, so he stumped to the audience. McCain says middle class income is $5 Million dollars, CNN omits his statement during “In their Own Words” segment.
    As an example, McCain NEVER wears nor has ever worn a Flag pin. How much of the Fox and CNN endless loop was devoted to Obama & Flag pin? The man McBush is good for bed time stories. Also, as you know, boring man doesn’t create news!
    Barack, may not have served in the Military(lots of American's have'nt),but his Knowledge & Judgement of complex Military affair's are much better than GWB & his bunch of 'Cut & Run Cowards" ever dreamed of.

    August 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm |