The Bukusu people (Bukusu: Babukusu) are one of the 17 Kenyan tribes of the Luhya Bantu people of East Africa residing mainly in the counties of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia. They are the largest tribe of the Luhya nation, with 1,188,963 identifying as Bukusu in the 2019 Kenyan census. The Bukusu Clans. They speak the Bukusu dialect.
The Bukusu myths of origin state that the first man, Mwambu (the discoverer or inventor), was made from mud by Wele Khakaba (meaning God the Creator) at a place called Mumbo (which translates to ‘west’). God then created a woman known as Sela to be his wife. Mwambu and his descendants moved out of Mumbo and settled on the foothills of Mount Elgon (known to them as Masaba), from where their descendants grew to form the current Bukusu population.
Anthropologists believe that the Bukusu did not become distinct from the rest of the Luhya population until the late 18th century at the very earliest. They moved into Central Uganda as part of a much larger group of people, many forming the eastern extension of the great Bantu migration out of central Africa. (See Origins of the Luhya.) The Bukusu clan includes a subdivision called ekholo. This subdivision includes the Baala, Bakibeti, the Bakibumbi, the Batilu, the Bameme, Baloncha, Bayundo, Bakimweyi, Bakongolo, Babhichachi, the Baengele, the Batukuika, the Batecho, the Bachemwile, the Bakoi, the Basekese, the Balunda, the Babulo, the Bakhoma, the Balukulu, the Basefu, the Babhuya, and the Basonge.
Together with other Luhya sub-nations, the Bukusu are thought to have first settled north of Lake Turkana at a place called Enambukutu. From there they settled in the Cherangani Hills at a place called Embayi, also known as Silikwa-mbayi. After evil and bad omens befell them, they dispersed taking six routes: five going around the western side of Mount Elgon and one via the eastern side of Mount Elgon. Those who went via the western side of Mount Elgon included the Basilikwa, the Banabayi, the Baneala, the Bakikayi and the Bamalaba. The Mwalie cluster took the eastern side route and settled at the Mwalie hills. This area was already inhabited by some Kalenjin sub-nationalities like the Laku, the Sabiny( known by the bukusu as basawinja), the Bongomek, and the Sebei, who were hostile to their new neighbors. To protect themselves against these tribes the Bukusu built fortified villages, an ancient art from their origin in Misri.
Currently, the Bukusu mainly inhabit Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Kakamega and Busia Counties of Western region of Kenya. The Bamasaba of Uganda are very closely related to the Babukusu, with many shared customs and closely related dialects. Previously, the Bukusu were referred to as the Kitosh by the colonialists; this was a word derived from the Nandi and Kwavi who used the word derogatively to describe the Babukusu. Kitosh means ‘the terrible ones’; they called them this because the Bukusu warriors were ruthless and decisive in battlefields. Following vigorous campaigns, the name Kitosh was eventually substituted by Bukusu in the mid-1950s.
The Bukusu trace their origin from Muntu we Entebbe, who lived in Tabasya of Misri. Muntu was a great warrior who was later deified by the people of Misri. His son Mwambu married Sela, the granddaughter Samba Ambarani, who is believed to be Abraham the Hebrew. Mwambu founded the cities of Kush, Nabibia (Nubia), Namelu (Meroe), Rwa (Alwa) and others including Soba and Balana. Mwambu became the father of Mwaabini the inventor and discoverer. Mwaabini was the father of Kongolo and Saba.
Masaba, the father of Bukusu and Kisu, led the people to Embayi which was later to become Sirikwa, or the fallen kingdom. It fell after the people disobeyed their God Khakaba, so he sent a giant boulder from the sky which hit the land of Mbayi, causing an earthquake followed by swarms of stinging insects, epidemics and other calamities which forced the subjects of Sirikwa to scatter. They dispersed and settled among the Kipsigis, the Nandi, the Samburu, the Marakwet, the Borana and further beyond. The main body of the population headed south east and west under the banners of Basirikwa, Banabayi, Bakikayi, Baneala, Bamalaba and Bamwalie
Here is a List of The Bukusu Clans
- Babutu (descendants of Mubutu also found in Congo),
- Baengele (originally Banyala),
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