Thomas Crampton points us to a special fundraiser held Friday night in Shenzhen by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China to benefit orphans. Star of the evening was none other than Presidential-elect Barack Obama’s half-brother Mark Ndesandjo. The media spotlight was firmly on him as reporters turned up in full force to get close to Ndesandjo.
Since Obama’s election win, Mark Ndesandjo has been shunning media attention, and no mention of his relationship to the incoming US president was made in publicity materials for the event and at the concert itself where Ndesandjo performed three piano pieces — first a Chinese tune called “Liuyang River” followed by “Chopin’s First Nocturne” and a jazz tune by Fats Waller called “Viper’s Drag”. Throughout the event, Ndesandjo declined requests for interviews from journalists.
In his speech at the event which raised a grand total of RMB250,000 (US$36,558), Obama said in Chinese “我也喜欢我的总统!” (“I like my president, too!”) and that was the closest he came to mentioning Obama at the event. He also divulged that would be flying to Washington on Saturday, failing which he would “lose face”.
According to the AP, even Sui Zhenjun, Ndesandjo’s friend and restaurant-business partner with whom he has been acquainted since he arrived in China in 2002, had no clue about his ties to Obama until July when media reports began surfacing about him and people started talking.
Shanghaiist: News report on Obama’s half-brother Mark Ndesandjo in Shenzhen, China
Thomas Crampton: Obama half-brother plays Jazz for Shenzhen fundraiser
AP: Low profile for Obama’s half brother