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Obama visits with half-brother who has Jewish roots

Staff Writer, J. Weekly, October 25, 2009

Mark Ndesandjo

During his recent trip to China, President Barack Obama met briefly with a half brother who lives in China and who recently wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about the abusive Kenyan father they shared.

Mark Ndesandjo is the product of Barack Obama Sr.'s marriage to his third wife, Ruth Nidesand, a Jewish American. He and Obama did not grow up together. Obama acknowledged the recent meeting in an interview with CNN but offered no details.

"I don't know him well. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago," Obama said. "He stopped by with his wife for about five minutes during the trip." Describing the meeting as "overwhelming" and "intense," Ndesandjo told The Associated Press last week that he had long anticipated the chance to welcome his famous brother to China.

In the CNN interview, Obama said he hadn't read his brother's book, "Nairobi to Shenzhen." Ndesandjo has revealed in previous interviews that his father, Barack Obama Sr., beat him and his mother.

The senior Obama married Ndesandjo's mother after divorcing the president's mother. They returned to Kenya to live, where Mark and his brother, David, were born and raised.

Mark Ndesandjo now lives near Hong Kong and earns a living as a marketing consultant. For most of that time, he has maintained a low profile, with few people knowing of his connection to the U.S. president.