Never before has the inauguration of an American President been met with such elation in Africa.
Barack Obama’s father hailed from a village in Western Kenya – and the country and continent have taken him to their hearts. Obama barely knew his father who died in 1982 – but there are many ready to remind him of his heritage: “It is a big honour for Africa and Africa today celebrates one of its most famous sons. We say our blood has been mingled with that of the Americans and it didn’t mingle for nothing.” said one woman in the village of Kogelo, who claimed to be a distant relative. Barak means the blessed one in Swahili – but will the 44th President of the United States live up to his name? “I think Barak Obama is a blessing to us, and a blessing to Kenya. I think many people now know of our country and its going to bring a lot of opportunities, especially here.” said one man. Babies have been named after Obama, souvenirs bearing his image are sold by the roadside and drinkers knock back beers in his honour. Across Africa there is a hope his Presidency will mean more US support for the world’s poorest continent.