According to mail online, Mark Obama Ndesandjo, 48, also uses his new book to set the U.S. president straight on inaccuracies he claims exist in his best-selling 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father and confirms they have never seen eye-to-eye because ‘Barack thought I was too white and I thought he was too black.’
The self-published book, Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery, which will be released in February, claims that Barack Obama Sr. consistently battered his wife when they lived in Kenya and details Ndesandjo’s journey from the African country to America and finally to China where he now lives with his wife.
Ndesandjo also recounts his sporadic but intense encounters with his brother over the years and when asked how he would describe his relationship with his brother, he said, ‘Right now it’s cold and I think part of the reason is because of my writing. My writing has alienated some people in my family.’
Even though he felt their relationship was distant, ‘I hope that my brother and I can really hug each other after he’s president and we can be a family again,’ said Ndesandjo, who resembles Obama.
Like the president, Ndesandjo also has a white American mother, Ruth Ndesandjo, a Jewish woman who was Barack Obama Sr.’s third wife. Their father died in a car crash in 1982 at age 46 – which is the central theme to Dreams From My Father.
In his new book, Ndesandjo recalls alcohol-fueled beatings meted out by his father to his mother. He recounts one incident in which his father held a knife to his mother’s throat because she took out a restraining order against him.
His parents met when Obama Sr. was a graduate student at Harvard University and moved in 1964 to Kenya, where Mark and his brother David were born. David later died in a motorcycle accident.
Obama Sr. had earlier divorced President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham (both pictured together below), after Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
Mark Ndesandjo’s mother later divorced the senior Obama and married another man, whose surname both mother and son also took.
Ndesandjo and Obama did not grow up together. Ndesandjo was brought up in Kenya but moved to the U.S. for college, earning a bachelor’s degree in physics at Brown University, a master’s in the same subject from Stanford University and an MBA at Emory University.
The book recounts Ndesandjo’s first encounter with Obama, who was visiting Kenya in 1988. They did not hit it off.Barack Obama’s father and mother
‘Barack thought I was too white and I thought he was too black,’ Ndesandjo said. ‘He was an American searching for his African roots.
‘I was a Kenyan, I’m an American but I was living in Kenya, searching for my white roots.’
The 500-page book includes an appendix listing a number of alleged factual errors in Obama’s 1995 memoir, ‘Dreams from my Father,’ such as quotes incorrectly attributed to Ndesandjo’s mother.
‘It’s a correction. A lot of the stuff that Barack wrote is wrong in that book and I can understand that because to me for him the book was a tool for fashioning an identity and he was using composites,’ Ndesandjo said.
‘I wanted to bring it up because first of all I wanted the record to be straight. I wanted to tell my own story, not let people tell it for me,’ he said.
President Obama saw his father only once after his parents’ divorce, when he was 10 years old. In a best-selling memoir, ‘Dreams from My Father,’ Obama wrote about his fatherless upbringing and search for identity.
In it, Obama described a visit to Kenya to meet his half siblings and learn more about his father. While painting his father as abusive, he called Obama Sr. a gifted but erratic alcoholic who never lived up to his intellectual promise or his family responsibilities.
Obama, in his book, also quotes Ndesandjo criticising their father, saying, ‘I knew that he was a drunk and showed no concern for his wife and children. That was enough.’
Ndesandjo said his mother often called Obama Sr. ‘a brilliant man but a social failure
He has lived for 12 years in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, next door to Hong Kong. He moved there to teach English after losing his job when the U.S. economy cratered following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and now works as a consultant.
Ndesandjo, who is married to a Chinese woman, learned to speak Chinese and immersed himself in the study of Chinese culture, including poetry and brush calligraphy. Trained as a classical pianist, he gives lessons as a volunteer at an orphanage.
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