Obama's half brother recalls abusive father

Bitter revelation

 
In his first interview, Mark Ndesandjo told The Associated Press that he wrote ‘Nairobi to Shenzhen’ in part to raise awareness of domestic violence.

“My father beat my mother and my father beat me, and you don’t do that,” said Ndesandjo, whose mother Ruth Nidesand was Barack Obama Sr’s third wife. “It is something which I think affected me for a long time, and it is something that I have just recently come to terms with.” Like his novel’s main character, Ndesandjo had an American mother who is Jewish and who divorced his Kenyan father.

President Obama’s parents separated two years after he was born in Hawaii in 1961. The senior Obama divorced the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1964.
For the past seven years, Ndesandjo has been living in the booming southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, and has refused all interview requests until now.

Ndesandjo, who said he attended Obama’s inauguration as a family guest, declined to discuss his earliest memories of the president or describe their relationship over the years.

However, he said he plans to meet his brother in Beijing when the president makes his first visit to China from November 15 to 18.

Shortly after divorcing the president’s mother, Obama Sr met Nidesand while studying as a graduate student at Harvard University.

Nidesand returned with Obama Sr to his native Kenya in 1965, where Mark and his brother David were born and grew up. David later died in a motorcycle accident. Nidesand and Obama Sr eventually divorced amid allegations of domestic abuse. Obama Sr died in an automobile accident in 1982 at age 46. In one of the passages in the book, Ndesandjo writes: “David easily remembered the hulking man whose breath reeked of cheap Pilsner beer who had often beaten his mother. He had long searched for good memories of his father but had found none.”

“I remember situations when I was growing up, and there would be a light coming from our living room, and I could hear thuds,” he said in the interview.

Ndesandjo said his mother often called Obama Sr “a brilliant man but a social failure.”

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