The Isukha Clans

The Isukha Clans. They speak Lwisukha and occupy the eastern part of Kakamega district. The Isukha, are a tribe of the Luhya nation of Kenya. Among the Luhya, the Isukha are known as Abiisukha. They reside Kakamega District neighboured by the Idakho and the Tiriki. They perform the traditional celebratory dance known as Isukuti.

The Isukha (also commonly referred to as Abaisukha) are a sub-community of the larger Luhya (Abaluyia) community in Kenya. The Luhya are a western Bantu ethnic group, which comprises of eighteen sub-communities: Isukha, Bukusu, Maragoli, Banyala, Banyore, Batsotso, Gisu, Idakho, Kabras, Khayo, Kisa, Marachi, Marama, Masaaba, Samia, Tachoni, Tiriki and Wanga with different but mutually understood linguistic dialects. The Isukha people speak the Lwisukha dialect. They inhabit parts of Kakamega County, in western Kenya, border the Tiriki and Idakho sub-communities, and are closely related to the Idakho.

Mumwamu (also referred to as Mundu or Muluyia) was the ancestor of the Isukha. His son Mwisukha had nineteen sons, who form the nineteen clans of the Isukha.

The Isukha were farmers who kept livestock and cultivated sweet potatoes, maize, beans, bananas, millet and cassava. They also carried out trade and made handicrafts. 

Historically the Isukha political structure was based on the clan system. Each clan was ruled and headed by a clan head (‘Omwami’). He served to unify the community, and presided over sacrifices, rituals and the blessing of warriors. The Isukha also had a war leader, called ‘Omusesia’, who coordinated all the military activities of the community.

The Isukha believed in a supreme being, Mukoye (also referred to as ‘Were’ or ‘Omwami We Mumbo’), to whom they offered prayers and sacrifices at selected places such as under trees (Mukhumi and Lusiola) or at the famous crying stone of Ilesi (ikongamurwe).

The Isukuti dance is a traditional dance performed among the Isukha and Idakho. It is a rapid dance accompanied by drumming of the isukuti drums from which the dance drives its name. Both men and women participate in this dance, usually led by a soloist. The dance is now popular amongst the entire Luhya community, and is inscribed by UNESCO in the world heritage list.

Many of the cultural practices of the Isukha are still embraced today, but have been influenced by the changes in society. The heritage and culture of the Isukha community, along with the more than 44 communities in Kenya, continues to fascinate and inspire. The National Museums of Kenya invites everyone to celebrate the intangible cultural heritage of all communities which makes up this great nation. 

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.

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