List of Luhya sub tribes. The Luhya (also known as Abaluyia or Luyia) are a group of 19 distinct Bantu tribes in Kenya that lack a common origin and were politically united in the mid 20th century. They number 6,823,842 people according to the 2019 census, being about 14.35% of Kenya’s total population of 47.6 million, and are the second-largest ethnic group in Kenya.
Luhya refers to both the 19 Luhya tribes and their respective languages collectively called Luhya languages and the current King is Peter Nantinda Mumia. There are 19 (and by other accounts, 20, when the Suba are included) tribes that make up the Luhya. Each has a distinct dialect. The word Luhya or Luyia in some of the dialects means “the north”, and Abaluhya (Abaluyia) thus means “people from the north”. Other translations are “those of the same hearth.”Location of Western Province in Kenya.
Luhya sub tribes. The seventeen tribes are the Bukusu (Aba-Bukusu), Idakho (Av-Idakho), Isukha (Av-Isukha), Kabras (Aba-Kabras), Khayo (Aba-Khayo), Kisa (Aba-Kisa), Marachi (Aba-Marachi), Maragoli (Aba-Logoli), Marama (Aba-Marama), Nyala (Aba-Nyala), Nyole (Aba-Nyole), Samia (Aba-Samia), Tachoni (Aba-Tachoni), Tiriki (Aba-Tiriki), Tsotso (Abatsotso), Wanga (Aba-Wanga), and Batura (Abatura). They are closely related to the Masaba (or Gisu), whose language is mutually intelligible with Luhya. The Bukusu and the Maragoli are the two largest Luhya tribes.
The Luhya community has about 750 clans, yes, that is a huge number of clans, perhaps it is the reason why their political stand matters so much to the leadership of the Nation. Some sub tribes of Luhya are so different from each other that they can’t understand each other’s language. As a nation, we have Kiswahili as the national language to help ease conversations between people of different tribes, in Luhya, there is no unifying language. Though most of the subtribes share certain words and can communicate; there is no ‘universal’ Luhya language that allows for flawless communication between people from different Luhya sub tribes in Kenya.
The principal traditional settlement area of the Luhya is in what was formerly the Western province of Kenya. A substantial number of them permanently settled in the Kitale and Kapsabet areas of the former Rift Valley province. Western Kenya is one of the most densely populated parts of Kenya. Migration to their present Luhyaland (a term of endearment referring to the Luhya’s primary place of settlement in Kenya after the Bantu expansion) dates back to as early as the 1450s.
Immigrants into present-day Luhyaland trace their ancestry with several Bantu groups and Cushitic groups, as well as peoples like the Kalenjin, Luo, and Maasai. By 1850, migration into Luhyaland was largely complete, and only minor internal movements occurred after that due to disease, droughts, domestic conflicts and the effects of British colonialism.
This is a List of Luhya sub tribes ,Tribes and clans
1. The Bukusu
The Bukusu speak Lubukusu and occupy Bungoma and Mount Elgon districts. The clans of the Bukusu include the Bamutilu, Babuya, Batura, Bamalaba, Bamwale, Bakikayi, Basirikwa, Baechale, Baechalo, Bakibeti, Bakhisa, Bamwayi Bamwaya, Bang’oma, Basakali, Bakiabi, Baliuli, Bamuki, Bakhona, Bakoi, Bameme, Basombi, Bakwangwa, Babutu (descendants of Mubutu also found in Congo), Bakhoone, Baengele (originally Banyala), Balonja, Batukwika, Baboya, Baala, Balako, Basaba, Babuya, Barefu, Bamusomi, Batecho, Baafu, Babichachi, Bamula, Balunda, Babulo, Bafumo, Bayemba, Baemba, Bayaya, Baleyi, Baembo, Bamukongi, Babeti, Baunga, Bakuta, Balisa, Balukulu, Balwonja, Bamalicha, Bamukoya, Bamuna, Bamutiru, Bayonga, Bamang’ali, Basefu, Basekese, Basenya, Basime, Basimisi, Basibanjo, Basonge, Batakhwe, Batecho, Bachemayi, Bachemwile, Bauma, Baumbu, Bakhoma, Bakhonjo, Bakhwami, Bakhulaluwa, Baundo, Bachemuluku, Bafisi, Bakobolo, Bamatiri, Bamakhuli, Bameywa, Bahongo, Basamo, Basang’alo, Basianaga, Basioya, Bachambayi, Bangachi, Babiya, Baande, Bakhone, Bakimwei, Batilu, Bakhurarwa, Bakamukong’i, Baluleti, Babasaba, Bakikai, Bhakitang’a, Bhatemlani, Bhasakha, Bhatasama, Bhakiyabi, Banywaka, Banyangali, etc. For a complete list of Bukusu clans see Shadrack Amakoye Bulimo’s new book Luyia Nation: Origins, Clans and Taboos ISBN 978-1-4669-7837-9
2. The Samia
The Samia speak Lusamia and occupy Southern Region of Busia District (Busia county), Kenya. The clans of the Samia of include the Abatabona, Abadongo, Abakhino, Abakhulo, Abakangala, Abasonga, Ababukaki, Ababuri, Abalala, Abanyiremi, Abakweri, Abajabi, Abakhoba, Abakhwi, Abadulu,
3. The Khayo
The Khayo speak Lukhayo and occupy Nambale District and Matayos Division of Busia County, Kenya. Khayo clans include the Abaguuri, Abasota, Abakhabi.
4. The Marachi
The Marachi speak Lumarachi and occupy Butula District in Busia county. Marachi clans include Ababere, Abafofoyo, Abamuchama, Abatula, Abamurono, Abang’ayo, Ababule, Abamulembo, Abatelia, Abapwati, Abasumia, Abarano, Abasimalwa, Abakwera, Abamutu, Abamalele, Abakolwe, Ababonwe, Abamucheka, Abaliba, Ababirang’u, Abakolwe, Abade. Abasubo. The name Marachi is derived from Ng’ono Mwami’s father who was called Marachi son of Musebe, the son of Sirikwa.So all the Marachi clans owed their allegiance to Ng’ono Mwami from whose lineage of Ababere clan they were founded. The name Marachi was given further impetus by the war-like lifestyle of the descendants of Ng’ono who ruthlessly fought off the Luo expansion of the Jok Omollo a Nilotic group that sought to control the Nzoia and Sio Rivers in the area and the fishing grounds around the gulf of Erukala and Ebusijo-modern Port Victoria and Sio Port respectively.
5. The Nyala
The Nyala speak Lunyala and occupy Busia District. Other Nyala (Abanyala ba Kakamega) occupy the north western part of Kakamega District. The Banyala of Kakamega are said to have migrated from Busia with a leader known as Mukhamba. They speak the same dialect as the Banyala of Busia, save for minor differences in pronunciation. The Abanyala ba Kakamega are also known as Abanyala ba Ndombi. They reside in Navakholo Division North of Kakamega forest. Their one-time powerful colonial chief was Ndombi wa Namusia. Chief Ndombi was succeeded by his son, Andrea.
Andrea was succeeded by Paulo Udoto, Mukopi, Wanjala, Barasa Ongeti, Matayo Oyalo and Muterwa in that order.
The clans of the Banyala include Abahafu, Ababenge, Abachimba, Abadavani, Abaengere, Abakangala, Abakhubichi, Abakoye, Abakwangwachi, Abalanda, Abalecha, Abalindo, Abamani, Abalindavyoki, Abamisoho, Abamuchuu, Abamugi, Abamulembo, Abamwaya, Abanyekera, Abaokho, Abasaacha, Abasakwa, Abasaya, Abasenya, Abasia, Abasiloli, Abasonge (also found among Kabras), Abasumba, Abasuu, Abatecho (also found among Bukusu), Abaucha, Abauma, Abaumwo, Abacharia, Abayaya, Abayirifuma (also found among Tachoni), Abayisa, Abayundo and Abasiondo, Abachende. List of Luhya sub tribes
The Banyala do not intermarry with someone from the same clan.
6. The Kabras
The Kabras speak Lukabarasi and occupy the northern part of Kakamega district. The Kabras were originally Banyala. They reside principally in Malava, in Kabras Division of Kakamega district. The Kabras (or Kabarasi, Kavalasi and Kabalasi) are sandwiched by the Isukha, Banyala and the Tachoni.
The name “Kabras” comes from Avalasi which means ‘Warriors’ or ‘Mighty Hunters.’ They were fierce warriors who fought with the neighbouring Nandi for cattle and were known to be fearless. This explains why they are generally fewer in number compared to other Luhya tribes such as the Maragoli and Bukusu.
They claim to be descendants of Nangwiro associated with the Biblical Nimrod. The Kabras dialect sounds like the Tachoni dialect. Kabras clans include the Abamutama, Basonje, Abakhusia, Bamachina, Abashu, Abamutsembi, Baluu, Batobo, Bachetsi and Bamakangala. They were named after the heads of the families. List of Luhya sub tribes
The Kabras were under the rulership of Nabongo Mumia of the Wanga and were represented by an elder in his Council of Elders. The last known elder was Soita Libukana Samaramarami of Lwichi village, Central Kabras, near Chegulo market. When the Quaker missionaries spread to Kabras they established the Friends Church (Quakers) through a missionary by the name of Arthur Chilson, who had started the church in Kaimosi, in Tiriki. He earned a local name, Shikanga, and his children learned to speak Kabras as they lived and interacted with the local children.
7. The Tsotso
The Tsotso speak Olutsotso and occupy the western part of Kakamega district. Tsotso clans include the Abangonya, Abashisiru, Abamweche, Abashibo,
8. The Idakho
The Idakho speak Lwidakho and occupy the southern part of Kakamega district. Their clans include the Abashimuli, Abashikulu, Abamasaba, Abashiangala, Abamusali, Abangolori, Abamahani, Abamuhali.
9. The Isukha
The Isukha speak Lwisukha and occupy the eastern part of Kakamega district. Isukha clans include the Abarimbuli, Abasaka- Ia, Abamakhaya, Abitsende, Abamironje, Abayokho, Abakusi, Abamahalia, Abimalia, Abasuiwa, Abatsunga, Abichina, Abashilukha, Bakhumbwa, Baruli, Abatura, Abashimutu, Abashitaho, Abakhulunya, Abasiritsa, Abakhaywa, Abasaiwa, Abakhonyi, Abatecheri, Abayonga, Abakondi, Abaterema, and Abasikhobu.
The Nyole speak Olunyole and occupy Bunyore in Vihiga district. Nyole clans include Abakanga, Abayangu, Abasiekwe, Abatongoi, Abasikhale, Aberranyi, Abasakami, Abamuli, Abasubi (Abasyubi), Abasiralo, Abalonga, Abasiratsi. Abamang’ali, Abanangwe, Abasiloli, Ab’bayi, Abakhaya, Abamukunzi and Abamutete.
12. The Tiriki
The Tiriki speak Ludiliji and occupy Tiriki in Vihiga district. Tiriki clans include Balukhoba, Bajisinde, Baumbo, Bashisungu, Bamabi, Bamiluha, Balukhombe, Badura, Bamuli, Barimuli, Baguga, Basianiga and Basuba.
13. The Wanga
The Wanga speak Oluwanga and occupy Mumias and Matungu Districts. The 22 Wanga clans are Abashitsetse, Abakolwe, Abaleka, Abachero, Abashikawa, Abamurono, Abashieni, Abamwima, Abamuniafu, Abambatsa, Abashibe, Ababere, Abamwende, Abakhami, Abakulubi, Abang’ale, Ababonwe, Abatsoye, Abalibo, Abang’ayo, Ababule and Abamulembwa.
14. The Marama
The Marama speak Lumarama and occupy Butere district. Marama clans include Abamukhula, Abatere, Abashirotsa, Abatsotse, Aberecheya, Abamumbia, Abakhuli, Abakokho, Abakara, Abamatundu, Abamani, Abashieni, Abanyukhu, Abashikalie, Abashitsaha, Abacheya, etc.
15. The Kisa
The Kisa speak Olushisa and occupy Khwisero district. Kisa clans include Ababoli, Abakambuli, Abachero, abalakayi, Abakhobole, Abakwabi, Abamurono, Abamanyulia, Abaruli, Abashirandu, Abamatundu, Abashirotsa, Abalukulu etc.
16. The Tachoni
The Tachoni speak Lutachoni and occupy Lugari, Bungoma and Malava districts. Tachoni clans include Abachambai, Abamarakalu, Abasang’alo, Abangachi, Abasioya, Abaviya, Abatecho, Abaengele. The Saniaga clan found among the Maragoli in Kenya and the Saniak in Tanzania are said to have originally been Tachoni.
Other clans said to have been Tachoni are the Bangachi found among Bagisu of Uganda, and Balugulu, also found in Uganda and the Bailifuma, found among the Banyala.
Luhya Population Details
Although Trans Nzoia is in the Rift Valley province, substantial Luhya populations have settled in the Kitale area.
Lunyala (east), Lunyala (west)
Lonyole (Uganda), Olunyore (Kenya)
List of Luhya sub tribes
List of Notable Luhya people and People of Luhya Descent
Academics, Medicine and science
Laban Ayiro, Kenyan academic, currently serving as the Vice Chancellor of Daystar University
Lukoye Atwoli Kenyan Psychiatrist .
Francis D. Imbuga Kenyan writer, playwright, literature scholar, teacher and professor at Kenyatta University,
Filemona F. Indire, distinguished statesman, Kenyan ambassador to the Soviet Union, one of Africa’s first African university professors, Kenyan Member of Parliament (1983-1988)
Calestous Juma, distinguished Professor, Harvard University
Catherine Nyongesa (born in 1970), is a Kenyan physician and radiation oncologist.
Nanjala Nyabola Kenyan Writer.
Ken Walibora, Kenyan writer
Elon Willis Wameyo, The first gynecologist in Kenya
Gideon Were (27 October 1934 – 7 July 1995) Kenyan professor
Dr. Blasio Vincent Oriedo, pioneering African epidemiologist and a parasitological medical scientist known for his contributions to tropical medicine and stemming a myriad of disease epidemics in the colonial era and embryonic postcolonial Kenya, in Sudan and countries in East and Central Africa.
Miriam Were, Kenyan public health advocate, academic, and recipient of the first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize.
Dr Ruben Abasa – From Emusenjeli
Politics, activism, trade unionism, diplomacy and law
Francis Atwoli, Cotu Secretary General and vice president world trade unions
Moody Awori, 9th Vice President of Kenya (September 2003 – January 2008)
Aggrey Awori (born 23 February 1939) Ugandan economist
Beatrice Elachi is a Kenyan politician
Nancy Makokha Baraza (born 1957 ) first Deputy Chief Justice of Kenya
Zachaias Chesoni, former Chief Justice
Cyrus Jirongo, former politician
Michael Wamalwa Kijana, 8th Vice President of Kenya (January–August 2003)
Eric Edward Khasakhala (1926–2000) former MP of Emuhaya
Sande Mukuna – former MP of Emuhaya
Ruth Habwe (died 1996), Kenyan feminist activist and politician. In 1964 she became notably, a first among women to challenge a male-only parliamentarian system. When she contested one of the three special parliamentary seats vacant at the time, she was suspended from party membership and ridiculed “to go back to the Kitchen and cook for Habwe’s children”.
Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Musikari Kombo, Chairman FORD-Kenya, Minister for Local Government
Alfred Khang’ati Kenyan politician
George Khaniri Kenyan politician
Kenneth Marende, Speaker of the National Assembly
Elijah Masinde, Bukusu leader
Moses Mudavadi (1923-1989) politician from Sabatia.
Musalia Mudavadi, Deputy Prime Minister and 7th Vice President (September 2002 – December 2002)
Masinde Muliro (1922–1992), freedom fighter, Member of Parliament (Kitale East & Cherangany)
Nabongo Mumia Leader of the Wanga Kingdom.
Elijah Mwangale, Foreign Minister of Kenya 1983–87
Ababu Namwamba, Kenyan politician
Burudi Nabwera, diplomat.
Nyongesa Sande – Publisher, Politician and Human rights Activist
Reuben Sechele Nyangweso Majority Leader Kakamega county Assembly (2013–present)
Phyllis Omido Kenyan environmental activist.
Esau Khamati Oriedo (circa AD 1888–1993), a colonial era politician, freedom fighter; detained alongside Mzee Kenyatta, original trade union movement founding member of KAU, philanthropist, legal and religious advocate, a veteran of both world wars and soldier in King’s African Rifles.
Paul Otuoma (born 15 September 1966)Kenyan politician
Nelson Mwangala Otwoma – CRL- Luanda Township
Martin Shikuku, former MP Butere Constituency
Soita Shitanda (9 November 1959 – 24 May 2016), Kenyan politician
Lawrence Sifuna (born January 23, 1946) Kenyan politician
David Eseli Simiyu, MP Kimilili Constituency
Wafula Wabuge, Kenya’s ambassador to Uganda, UN & US (1981–1986). Former Member of Parliament
Judy Wakhungu Kenya’s Ambassador to France
Smokin Wanjala, Kenyan lawyer and associate justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya
Amos Wako, Former Attorney General of Kenya, Senator Busia county (2013–present)
Sylvester Wakoli Bifwoli (born 1952) Kenyan politician
Benjamin Jomo Washiali Kenyan politician
Noah Wekesa Former Minister for Forestry and Wildlife.
Alfred Sambu (1944) Kenyan politician
Javan Ommani Lurambi Member of Parliament1992
Joseph Mugalla Jolly Cotu Secretary General from 1987.
Henry Ikatukhu Mpapale currently the ICAI East & Southern Africa Regional representative.
Samson Akute – Former PS
Sheldon Muchilwa – Cabinet Minister
Melkzadeck Ongong’a Opwotsi – Contractor and Teacher,
Sheldon Saunya Sangolo – Contractor and Teacher
Ruben Olembo – Former UNEP Chairman
Oriedo Blasio Ndale
Melitus Mugabe Were – Former Embakasi MP
Tim Wanyonyi – Westlands MP and Aspiring Nairobi County Governor
Fred Gumo – Former Westlands MP
Business and Economics
Jeremy Awori, MD & CEO, ABSA BANK KENYA PLC.
Ayisi Makatiani, MD & CEO of Fanisi Capital Ltd.
Mubarak Muyika, Founder & CEO of Zagace.
Benswell Muchilwa – Business Man Kima general Stores
Jack Sichenga – Construction and real estates Business
Okila Nathan Kooli – [ Former Ward Representative]. Emabungo. Ward and Businessman
Arts, music and media
Bien-Aimé Baraza, Sauti Sol band member
Daudi Kabaka (1939–2001), musician
Pamella Makotsi-Sittoni (born 1969) Kenyan journalist
Yolanda Masinde Miss World finalist, 2000.
Gloria Muliro, Kenyan Gospel Artist
Azziad Nasenya, Kenyan Actress
Hilary Ng’weno, Historian and veteran journalist
Mary Kavere, Veteran actor in Kenya
Nonini, Kenyan Musician
Edgar Asila – Music Producer and Events Organiser
Winfred Adah Omwakwe, Miss Earth 2002. The first from an African country.
Daddy Owen, Musician
Khadambi Asalache(28 February 1935 – 26 May 2006), Kenyan poet and author
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