Tag: Luo

Odera Street, Kisumu, Kenya

Odera Street is located in downtown Kisumu, Kenya, slightly more than one kilometer from the Kisumu Railway Station to the Kisumu-Busia Highway. Odera Street intersects with Oginga Odinga Road, and after that intersection it continues as Kendu Lane. On the opposite side, away from Lake Victoria, Odera Street dead-ends into Mumias Street/Kisumu-Busia Road. The history... Read more »

Kisumu Museum

When one visits the Kisumu Museum, the first thing that one notices is a large billboard that lists the admission rates and hours of operation (Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) of the museum. The billboard also announces that the museum is part of the National Museums of Kenya. Underneath the billboard are... Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

If Only the Monuments Could Speak!

A Spanish-American philosopher, George Santayana, spoke of history in his famous aphorism “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” People can avoid the pitfalls of forgetting the history of their countries specifically and of the world generally through various reminders of history. For example, people have built physical structures to honor... Read more »

Maseno Mission Hospital

Maseno Mission Hospital was founded by Anglican missionaries who came from England and settled in the Maseno part of western Kenya in 1906. Following the establishment of Maseno National School in 1906 to provide education to the children of the area, the hospital was founded thereafter to cater for the healthcare needs of the members... Read more »

Chief Nindo and the Colonial Administration of Kenya

It is well known that all across Africa, as well as the world, European powers installed chiefs acting in the interests of the imperial nations. The British were no exception. They also appointed chiefs to help with their plans in Africa. The British created this chief-system because, according to political scientist David K. Leonard, they... Read more »

The Livestock Trade in Kisumu Region

It is a warm, dusty day at Luanda livestock market, situated about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Kisumu City on the Kisumu-Siaya-Busia highway. It is in fact a Thursday, one of the market days at Luanda when traders trek from near and far on foot and by other means to sell and buy goods. Livestock... Read more »

The Ambrose Ofafa Memorial Building

The fading cream-colored paint peeling off the wall of the Ambrose Ofafa Memorial Building tells you that the building has not had a brush with fresh paint for a very long time. The concrete steps leading into various rooms in the building are frayed in places, and the terrace snaking around the building is marked... Read more »

The Oginga Odinga House at Maseno National School

Born in 1911, Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga was a member of the Luo community whose drive, vision, selflessness, and commitment strongly influenced the trajectory of Kenya’s history. Born under British colonial rule, Odinga was inspired to lead the fight against the oppressive colonial system, and had an indelible influence on the Kenyan independence movement. He... Read more »

The Ramogi Press

Customers today venture into a small, non-descript printing shop on Accra Street in downtown Kisumu thinking of little besides the business cards and letterheads they hope to purchase. Most would be surprised to learn that Ramogi Press has an illustrious history and played a large role in the tumultuous politics of Kenyan independence. The brainchild... Read more »

The Mega City Mall in Kisumu

Located along the Kisumu-Busia Road (Nairobi Highway) on Kisumu’s east side, Mega City Kisumu is a modern shopping mall anchored by the largest outlet of Nairobi-based retail giant Nakumatt. Mega City is more than a market for goods, however. It is also an important end point for products that often originate well outside Kisumu and... Read more »