Global icon Oprah Winfrey is among 350 celebrities and notables who will accompany former US President Barrack Obama to Kenya on July 16.
Obama and his guests will attend the launch of Sauti Kuu, his half-sister Dr Auma Obama’s NGO, in K’Ogelo, Siaya county.
The one-day visit is tightly scheduled.
Before they head to K’Ogelo, Obama, his family and Oprah will pay a courtesy call on President Uhuru Kenyatta and meet Opposition leader Raila Odinga in a tightly scheduled one-day visit.
It is understood that State House is considering honouring Obama for the role he played in putting Kenya on the world map.
Sources close to the family told the Star yesterday that Obama’s team will include professionals, celebrities, philanthropists, clergy, activists, top lawyers, businessmen, diplomats and friends.
Although the visit is being treated as a top secret for security reasons, the Star got an exclusive sneak preview of the star-studded entourage. Oprah — a darling of many TV viewers in Kenya and the world — has indicated her interest in running for President of the United States on Obama’s Democratic Party. She will be visiting Kenya for the first time.
The media mogul’s fortune hit a record $4 billion (Sh400 billion) on Monday to make her the first black woman entrepreneur on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. She’s at 494.
Most of her money comes from ownership of the Oprah Winfrey Show, which had a 25-year run. The founder of her own cable network, Winfrey just announced a partnership with Apple Inc to produce original programmes and content.
Through her South Africa-based Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, in its 10th year, the media mogul and self-made billionaire is developing leaders to play key roles in Africa.
In an exclusive interview with Forbes Woman Africa, Oprah Winfrey talked about where it all started — in Mandela’s home where she spent 10 days and shared 29 meals with the statesman and pledged to build a school for girls and invest in the people of South Africa.
Oprah will accompany Obama to his father’s rural home of K’Ogelo and attend a charity golf tournament in Muthaiga for the new NGO, the Sauti Kuu Foundation.
Well-known businessman and golfer John Simba is to play a round of golf with Obama.
The former US Preident is to travel to South Africa to deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg on July 17 .
US-based Senegalese musician Akon is also in delegation, together with Zimbabwe’s music maestro Oliver Mutukudzi who will be travelling with his daughter Samona.
Others in the entourage are NBA Africa senior director Will Mbiakop and billionaire Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote.
“The family wanted to make it a private launch [of the NGO] but they were to be informed that due to Obama’s status it was a state visit,” a State House official said.
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga will host Obama where musician Suzanna Owiyo will sing.
Tim Jahnigen, founder of One World Futbol and Laila Alawa, the CEO and founder of The Tempest, are also in the entourage. One World Futbol designs soccer balls that last.
Inspired by the suffering of children in Dafur, The One World Play Project, which manufactures and distributes the One World Futbol, was founded in California in 2010 to manufacture, sell, and donate the balls.
The Tempest tells the stories of diverse millennial women.
Obama's delegation includes renowned global business leaders. They include Axel Bachmann, the general manager for sustainability at Coca Cola; Markus Baumann and the group company secretary the Union Bank of Switzerland.
Others are Barbro Ciakudia, vice president for business development at Invest Africa; and Vik Bakhru, a physician, entrepreneur and currently CEO at ConsenjoSano.
The firm specialises in venture-backed health technology that simplifies and lowers the cost of care.
Invest Africa is a private investment club based in Mayfair, US, that identifies opportunities and channels capital and expertise into Africa.
The delegation also has a host of celebrities and sportsmen: Ingo Anderbrügge, a retired German footballer; Wang Bing, regarded as a foremost documentary filmmaker; and Sarah Berghorst, the executive director of OneGoal.
The Chicago-based organisation offers an innovative, three-year college persistence programme that identifies, trains and supports effective teaching in high school.