FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Barack Obama Arriving In Kenya For His Grandmother’s Funeral?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows former President Barack Obama arriving in Kenya for his grandmother’s funeral in March 2021.

Verdict: False

The video shows Obama visiting Kenya in 2018 to promote the opening of a sports and training facility and see family. It is unrelated to his step-grandmother’s death.

Fact Check:

The video appears to show a clip of a live news broadcast covering the former president’s presence in Kisumu, Kenya. The clip shows a long motorcade driving away from the airport as the broadcasters can be heard discussing it.

The caption accompanying the video alleges it shows Obama as he “arives (sic) in Kogelo ahead of the burial of his grandmother.” Obama’s paternal step-grandmother, Sarah, died at the age of 99 on March 29 at a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya, according to CNN.

The footage video shared is not recent, however. A keyword of the news broadcast’s chyron – “Obama Arrives In Kisumu” – reveals the same footage was shared by Kenyan CitizenTV’s verified YouTube account in 2018. News articles from The New York Times, NBC News and others confirm Obama traveled to the country in 2018 to launch a sports and training facility and to visit his family. He has visited the country several times in the past, according to ABC News.

Check Your Fact found no news reports to suggest Obama recently visited Kenya. The Associated Press reported he did not attend the funeral, which only had about 100 people in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions. He last saw her while visiting Kenya in 2018, according to Business Insider.

In a March 29 tweet, Obama paid tribute to her, saying he and his family are “mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Barack Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate)

“My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as ‘Mama Sarah’ but known to us as ‘Dani’ or Granny,” Obama tweeted.  “We will miss her dearly, but we’ll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life.”

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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