Luhya Tribe in Kenya



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Origin The true origin of the Abaluhya is disputable. According to their own oral literature, Luhyas migrated to their present day location from Egypt (north of Kenya). Some historians, however, belie

Luhya Tribe in Kenya Description

Origin

The true origin of the Abaluhya is disputable. According to their own oral literature, Luhyas migrated to their present day location from Egypt (north of Kenya). Some historians, however, believe that the Luhya came from Central and West Africa alongside other Bantus in what is known as the Great Bantu Migration.

The Luhya tribe, like many other Kenyan tribes, lost their most fertile land to the colonialists during the British colonial rule of Kenya. The Abaluhya, and especially the Bukusu, strongly resisted colonial rule and fought many unsuccessful battles to regain their land. The Wanga and Kabras sub-tribes, however, collaborated with the colonialists.

Leadership Hierarchy

The Luhya peoples became a politico-cultural bloc during the colonial period moving toward independence.  They are at peace with their neighbors at the present time, although during the last elections there were disturbances and open conflict with the Kalenjin.  Many of the Luhya peoples had already been incorpoorated into a unified political structure and identity under the Wanga kingdom of Nabongo Mumia.

Popular Cultural Events

Music and dance are an important part of the life of the Luhya. Children sing songs and dance for play and (especially boys) when herding livestock. Occasions such as weddings, funerals, and circumcision ceremonies all call for singing and dancing. Musical instruments include drums, jingles, flutes, and accordions. The Luhya are nationally renowned for their energetic and vibrant isukuti dance, a celebratory performance involving rapid squatting and rising accompanied by thunderous, rhythmic drumbeats.

Location and Size

The ethnic homeland of the Luhya (or with a Bantu grammatical marker for “people” in some of their languages, they are sometimes referred to as Abaluyia) is located in western Kenya north of Lake Victoria from Kisumu to Webuye going north and south, and from Kapsabet on the east to the Uganda border on the west. There are also large pockets of Luhya in Nairobi and the surrounding area.Their population number is about 5.3 million people according to the 2009 census, being 16% of Kenya’s total population of 38.5 million, and are the second-largest ethnic group in Kenya.


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