With the new American president being the son of a Kenyan, it was almost as if one of their own was taking the reins of the world superpower.
Kenyans started filtering into the Mountain View African Café restaurant and bar in Loop Street from 5pm in order to watch Obama’s inauguration, with eventually over 100 celebratory Kenyans packing the bar by the time Obama took his oath.
Half-price drinks and a free shot of tequila served with every R30 spent served to add to the festive atmosphere.
The inauguration was particularly special for bar owner Peter Thuo, as he comes from Kanyadhiang, the same village Obama’s dad came from.
Thuo had hung a Kenyan and American flag side-by-side below the large plasma television screen and joined in the whistling, clapping, whooping and tears which engulfed the patrons as Obama took his presidential oath.
Thuo said he could not get over the fact that his country had produced the “most intelligent, gifted president in the whole world”.
“The president of America is originally from Kenya…we have a world president produced in our country. We feel blessed because when we see where the original father (Obama senior) comes from, it’s unbelievable that that the American president has roots there.”
Thuo said although he did not know if Kenya would benefit politically, he was sure there would be a boost in tourism as Americans learnt more about their president’s ancestry.
Kenyan John Gitau, 32, agreed, and said he expected not only Kenya, but the rest of Africa to benefit from Obama’s presidency, although fellow Kenyan Peter Ong’olo, 30, said they should not expect miracles during the first years of Obama’s term.
Ong’olo said Obama needed to be given some time to get American affairs in order.
But Ong’olo said having a “sound” world leader would bring changes in African politics and economies.