Over a period of several years the journalist Sandiford visited the slumarea Korogocho in the Kenian capotal Nairobi. Sometimes it was just a daylong visit. At another time she stayed for a month in a rented place in the slum area. So during this period of about twelve years she got to know quite a number of people in this creative hotspot. People who tried to make a living in this place for the odd people out. She gained entyrance into this suburb through Roman Catholic workers in th Korogocho. Near the end of the book she describes how the numer of NGO’s working in Korogocho increases. There is a move towards improvements of the living conditions. The way Sandifort describes the people she has met is impressive.

The neighbours of Obama’s granny.’ This is the translated title of this book. At first I thought that the granny lived in this Korogocho. But I was mistaken. One of the people Sandifort has met hails from the western parts of Kenya. His village is few villages  away from the village where granny lives. Sandifort puts in some efforts to meet this granny. Well, it is not the real granny of Barack. She is the second wife of his grandfather, his real granny already passed away. President Obama is the first grandson of the first wife. All kinds of stories about the president and his relationship with his ancestral home float around, but they are build on shifting sands. The journey to the western parts of Kenya is quite different from the main body of the book, about life and developments in Korogocho. The subtitle (‘Living amongst the slumdwellers of Kenya’) is closer to the content of this book. But the name of Obama is what will trigger bookbuyers. 

Mary-Ann Sandifort – De buren van Obama’s oma. Leven tussen de sloppenbewoners in Kenia – Utrecht 2010 -189 pages

de buren van obamas oma

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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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