The Luhya tribe, also identified as Abaluhya, Baluhya, or Abaluyia,
is a Bantu tribe currently living in the western region of
Kenya. This is the second largest community after the Kikuyu and makes
up approximately 14% of Kenyas current population. They are neighbors of some nilotic
tribes including Luo , Kalenjin ,
Maasai and Teso (Iteso). Even though considered as one tribe, the Abaluhya
are actually made of over 18 sub-tribes, and each speaks a different
dialect of the Luyia language. The Bukusu and Maragoli
make the two largest Luhya sub tribes. The other dialects include Banyala, Banyore,
Batsotso, Gisu, Idakho, Isukha, Kabras, Khayo, Kisa, Marachi, Marama, Masaaba, Samia,
Tachoni, Tiriki, and Wanga.
The accurate origin of the Abaluhya is kind of mixed. As per their own word of mouth
literature, they believed to have migrated to their current day location from Egypt
in the Northern part of Africa. Some history researchers on the other hand believe
that the Luhya migrated from Central parts of Africa together with
other Bantus in some event historians called the Great Bantu Migration.
Like many other Kenya tribes, they lost most of their most of their land to the
colonialists during the colonial
rule in Kenya . They and more so the Bukusus, strongly resisted and fought
many futile battles to recapture their land. On the other hand, the Wanga and Kabras
sub-tribes collaborated with colonialists. According to tradition, the extensive
family and the clan were at the centre of the Luhya culture. Dowry
was paid in form of cattle, sheep, or goats during marriage. In place of giving
cattle, sheep, or goats as bride price, one may pay dowry in cash. Nevertheless,
marrying from ones clan is a taboo up to today.
Male circumcision is a vital ritual in most Luhya sub tribes. It symbolizes the
initiation from boyhood to manhood. Up to now, traditional bullfights are seen as
a popular sport in the Luhya ethnic tribe. The yearly bullfighting
conKenya Vacations still attracts many viewers. Agriculture is the key economic
activity of the Luhya tribe, with sugarcane being the key cash
crop from the region. Actually, most of the sugar in Kenya is produced in Luhya
land. Further agricultural goods from this land include maize (corn) and wheat.
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