There will be hundreds of thousands of revelers in Washington to celebrate Barack Obama‘s inauguration, but only one person whom the president-elect calls “Granny.”
Sarah Hussein Onyango Obama isn’t actually related to the next president by blood — she was the third wife of Barack Obama’s paternal grandfather. The two must speak through an interpreter as she knows only a few words of English.
But they formed a close bond when he first visited Kenya in 1988.
Her face was “smooth and big-boned, with sparkling, laughing eyes,” Obama wrote in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father.
Sarah Obama will attend a pan-African celebration the night of the inauguration. It’s not the first time she’s been to Washington: she came in 2004 to celebrate her step-grandson’s inauguration into the U.S. Senate.