Obama
Well, you know...
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I think it's a bit misleading to assume that the President's great-grandfather (whose given name became the family surname) had a big "physical defect."The custom among the Luo was to give a name which referred to circumstances related to the birth itself. The "slightly crooked" meaning most likely referred to one of the baby's arms or legs looking a little bent just after birth, OR it could have been a reference to a breech birth. It doesn't necessarily mean that the original Obama had a life long obvious handicap. P.S. And Obama is in the surname list on this site.

This message was edited by the author 2/3/2009, 1:33 PM

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Someone gave us the lowdown on this name some time ago. I've tried scrolling down the page to locate the original posting, but without success.
Obama is a Luo (Kenyan population group) name, and, if I recall correctly, was explained as meaning "slightly crooked" - good name for a politician. It's probably a given name or nickname of an ancestor, referring to a physical defect. On the other hand it's possible that the name follows a common African custom, of giving a child a name that suggests something not quite right about it. This is to forestall the possibility of spirits coveting the child and stealing it away from the parents, a folk belief to explain infant mortality.
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