Skip to navigationSkip to content

Photos: Obama’s trip to East Africa is prime time for Obamabilia sales

AP Photo/Ben Curtis
Spoted in Dar es Salaam.
  • Caitlin Hu
By Caitlin Hu

Geopolitics Editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Barack Obama arrives in Kenya today, July 24, before making his way on to Ethiopia. It is his first trip to his father’s homeland as president of the United States, and the first visit to either country by a sitting American president.

He will be warmly received: According to the Guardian, 10,000 Kenyan police officers have been assigned to Obama’s security detail, while the Daily Nation reports that Nairobi officials have had to remind citizens that his arrival does not make Friday a state holiday. Themed merchandise and “Obama hairdos” are in hot demand in Kogelu, his father’s native village, and beyond.

Despite personal ties to Kenya, the cult of Obama doesn’t stop at the border. Since his election in 2008, Obama has captured the imagination of people across Africa. From Guinea to Tanzania, the US president’s likeness can now be spotted on everything from printed scarves to hotel signs. Below, a brief tour of Obamabilia across the continent:

AP Photo/Christian Thompson
Inside a hotel in Accra, Ghana.
Reuters/Antony Njuguna
Scarfs in downtown Nairobi.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis, file
A Rwandan man wears a shirt showing the face of Barack Obama, at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
AP Photo/Youssouf Bah
Obama restaurant in Conakry, Guinea.
Reuters/Noor Khamis
“Obama grocery and retail shop” in Nairobi’s Kibera slums.
AP Photo/Christian Thompson
A hotel in Accra, Ghana.
AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene
A portrait is displayed with other famous people in the National Cafe in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
AP Photo/Jerome Delay
A police officer keeping watch on demonstrators in Bujumbura, Burundi, carries a bag with the portrait of U.S. President Barak Obama.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis, file
Youths attending a protest wear a t-shirt with the face of US President Barack Obama reading “My president is black, the dream comes true”, in downtown Bangui, Central African Republic.
AP Photo/Jerome Delay
A man rides his bicycle wearing a T-shirt with the portrait of U.S. President Barak Obama in Bujumbura, Burundi.


(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, file)
A boy pushes his bicycle past a sign for the Senator Obama secondary school in Kogelo, Kenya.
REUTERS/Noor Khamis
Wycliff Madegwa prepares to display a t-shirt in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Reuters/Noor Khamis
A printing screen in Nairobi’s Kibera slums.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.