*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 share, reports the Associated Press.
“I don’t know him well. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago,” Obama told CNN of his visit with Mark Ndesandjo. “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 in an interview Wednesday that he had long anticipated the chance to welcome his famous brother to China.
“I think he came directly off the plane, changed some clothes and then came down and saw us,” Ndesandjo said. “And he just gave me a big hug. And it was so intense. I’m still over the moon on it. I am over the moon. And my wife. She is his biggest fan and I think she is still recovering.”
In the CNN interview, Obama said he hadn’t read his brother’s book, “Nairobi to Shenzhen,” which features a protagonist who is the son of a Jewish mother and an abusive father from Kenya.
Ndesandjo has revealed in previous interviews that his father, Barack Obama Sr., beat him and his mother. The president also wrote about his father, who abandoned him as a child, in his best-selling memoir.
Ndesandjo said he bought tickets months ago to fly from the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, where he has lived since 2002, to Beijing, in hopes of reconnecting with his brother. The two last met in January when Ndesandjo attended Obama’s inauguration as a family guest.
The three chatted on Monday, with Obama being introduced to Ndesandjo’s wife, a native of Henan, China, whom he married a year ago, he said. He gave few details of what they discussed.
“All I can say is, we talked about family, and it was very powerful because when he came in through that door, and I saw him and I hugged him, and he hugged me and hugged my wife. It was like we were continuing a conversation that had started many years ago,” he said.
President Obama’s father had been a Kenyan exchange student who met his mother, Kansas native Stanley Ann Dunham, when they were in school in Hawaii. The two separated two years after he was born.
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.
Obama Sr. died in an automobile accident in 1982 at age 46.
Ndesandjo 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.