Stories

Death, Dying, and the Memorialization of the Dead

Among the many traditions practiced by the Luo of Kenya for centuries before European colonization, the ceremonies and rituals performed in the event of the death of a family member or community member were particularly meaningful. The Luo funeral process involved a series of regimented stages to be followed by the family and community of… Read more »

Traditional Homesteads Among the Luo of Kenya

A Luo home or homestead, it is often said, is like a book – a book that tells you about the Luo culture, how the Luo view life, and how they view each other. More than 4 million Luo people live in Kenya, mainly in Nyanza, in the western part of the country Kenya. Several… Read more »

Kit Mikayi: Between Tradition and Modernity

The mixing of cultures can result in new practices, sometimes at the expense of long-held beliefs and traditions. Some groups, like the Luo in Kenya, seek to preserve and promote their traditional culture within the new, foreign culture expanding into their land. In seeking to preserve and promote their own culture, the Luo are trying… Read more »

The Architecture of Traditional Public Meetings among the Luo

The Luo who are the subject of this essay settled in the Western part of Kenya somewhere around 1400-1500 C.E. The Luo are about 4 million in population, and make up a large portion of the western Kenyan population today. This leads us to an important question – how were the Luo so successful in migrating,… Read more »

From the Cooking Pot to the Table

Foods and lifestyles connected to them have increasingly become an important topic of discussion among people all over the world. Whether one is snacking on a light meal on a couch at home, devouring his way through a four-course meal at a trendy restaurant, watching a food critic railing against a hapless, sweating chef trying… Read more »

The Mikayi Senior Wife

One of the most visibly unique features of Kisumu City is a building on the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground that resembles a traditional senior wife’s hut in a Luo homestead. The building is aptly named Od Mikayi–the house of the senior Luo woman, the first wife, in a Luo homestead. Although this essay is not… Read more »

Fishing at Dunga Beach on Lake Victoria

Dunga Beach is a longtime fishing village on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Winam on Lake Victoria, just south of Kisumu City. The small community coalesced more than a century ago as migrants from the surrounding countryside arrived there to fish and trade on the outskirts of Kisumu. Over time, and increasingly in… Read more »

The Many Uses of Kit Mikayi

The African continent, like other continents around the world, has many natural rock formations and other structural wonders with deep significance for the ethnic groups and communities living around them. One of these is Kit Mikayi. Kit Mikayi is a natural geographical site in Kenya with hallowed grounds that attract thousands of religious members who… Read more »

Chief Ogola Ayieke of Kisumu

Leadership by Africans in the African continent can be traced through the role of elders and kings in pre-colonial times, colonial administrators during colonial periods, and presidents and prime ministers today. No matter the time or era, one constant theme remains for sure, and that is there is always a need for leadership. In pre-colonial… Read more »

Usoma Beach in Kisumu

One of the most well-known beaches in Kisumu is Dunga Beach. This is the place you will most likely go to when you want to sample some social life of Kisumu, take a leisurely boat ride, watch the local hippos frolicking in the evening breeze on the banks of Lake Victoria, fill your tummy with… Read more »