Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. The elder Obama grew up herding goats in Africa, eventually earning a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and pursue his dreams of college in Hawaii. While studying at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, Obama, Sr. met fellow student, Ann Dunham. They married on February 2, 1961. Barack was born six months later.
Obama's parents separated when he was two years old, later divorcing. Obama, Sr. went on to Harvard to pursue Ph.D. studies, and then returned to Kenya in 1965. In 1966, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, another East–West Center student from Indonesia. A year later, the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro Ng was born. Several incidents in Indonesia left Dunham afraid for her son's safety and education so, at the age of 10, Barack was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. His mother and sister later joined them.
But the father soon abandoned his young family to attend Harvard, and then returned to Africa. The son would see his father only once again, when he was 10. Barack Sr. had a new life, wives and children back in Kenya as well as troubles, including depression and alcohol, that followed the political conflicts that upended his career as a senior government economist. One crippling car accident was followed by another, this time fatal, his short life ending in Nairobi at age 46 in 1982.
Obama's mother was a dreamer. She made risky bets that paid off only some of the time, choices that her children had to live with. She fell in love—twice—with fellow students from distant countries she knew nothing about. Both marriages failed, and she leaned on her parents and friends to help raise her two children.
Barack Obama's mother was secretly in contact with his estranged father during his entire childhood without the future president's knowledge, a new book claims.
Ann Dunham gave Barack Obama Sr regular updates about his life during the 1960s and 70s and even sent him school reports.
It was not until the 1980s that Mr Obama became aware of the contact between the two - but he still did not forgive his father for being an absent dad.