Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Son says Obama father 'abusive'

Mark Ndesandjo
Mark Ndesandjo had previously avoided talking to journalists

One of US President Barack Obama's half-brothers has spoken about their "abusive" father at the launch of his semi-autobiographical first novel.

Mark Ndesandjo told reporters: "My father beat me. He beat my mother."

The author is the son of Mr Obama's late father and his third wife. Barack Obama Sr split from Mr Obama's mother when the future president was aged two.

Mr Ndesandjo, who lives in China, had previously shunned the media since his link to Mr Obama emerged in 2008.

But in a news conference to promote the novel Nairobi to Shenzhen, he said a string of extraordinary events - including his brother being elected president - made him come to terms with his past.

'I want to tell my story'

"I remember in my house I would hear the screams. I would hear my mum's pain. As a child, I could not protect her," he said.

"I could not remember any good things about my father. My skin had turned hard emotionally for so many years."

Mr Ndesandjo said his novel was about a man who was forced to confront his early experiences in Kenya and the United States after arriving in China in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

He said he would publish his second book, an autobiography, in the next few months.

"I want to tell my story, not have others tell it for me," he added.

For the past seven years, Mr Ndesandjo has been living in the city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, and has until now refused all interview requests.

He said he planned to meet his half-brother in Beijing when the US president visits later in November.

Barack Obama Sr divorced the president's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1964 and had at least six other children in his native Kenya. He died in a road accident in 1982.

President Obama hardly knew his father, but wrote of the impressions he formed of him in his 1995 book Dreams From My Father.

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