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NYAFF - Interview with filmmaker Branwen Okpako - THE EDUCATION OF AUMA OBAMA

The Education of Auma Obama, a new documentary from filmmaker Branwen Okpako.

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Interview w/ Branwen Okpako - THE EDUCATION OF AUMA OBAMA by societyhae

Branwen Okpako’s The Education of Auma Obama gives us a rare, intimate look at the life of President Barack Obama’s older half-sister. Her humble beginnings in Kogelo, Kenya, with a somewhat indifferent mother and a father who was a governmental economist, did not offer many options for Auma or her future. But a glimmer of hope came from an unlikely source: Ruth, the American wife of Barack Obama, Sr. Despite the obvious ambivalence of their relationship (i.e. stepmother/stepchild), Ruth gave Auma self-confidence and a belief that she can accomplish almost anything.

I recently sat down with filmmaker Okpako to discuss not only Auma’s life as it unfolds in the film—her linguistics studies in Germany, earning her Ph.D. in 1996 and her new roles as both a community organizer and educator for other young Kenyans—but also the surprising parallel journeys that Auma and President Obama share despite their different upbringings.

The Education of Auma Obama recently took home “Best Diaspora Documentary” honors at this year’s Africa Movie Academy Awards. To learn more about Branwen Okpako’s touching documentary, please visit

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Tags: Africa, Auma, Barack, Education, Kenya, Obama, President, Sr., The, education, More…of, racism


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