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Luhyaland has 750 clans

All members of a family had responsibilities towards one another. Several families like that made up a sub-clan; and several sub-clans made up a clan.(i) The clan was the most important family unit in the tribe. There are nearly 750 clans in Luhyaland. Each clan has a totem; that is, they have an animal or bird or plant which they do not eat, or which they do not touch.

Here are examples of clans and their totems: Abashitsetse (Wanga):  A bushbuck (imbongo)
Abamulembo (Bunyala, Busia District): A palm (olukhindu)

Each clan swears by its totem. This was done when the person swearing wanted to prove that he or she was not telling a lie. You could not swear by your totem if you knew you were telling a lie as it was believed that the totem would thereby bring you bad luck, or kill you. More...

waterback (imbongo)
Waterbuck (imbongo) is a sacred animal (totem) among the Abashitsetse, the royal clan of Wanga.

Let's build the tree: Can you trace your family tree? Email editor your family details. You never know whom you're related to.
Some clans go back 30 generations

Most Luhya clans have family lines which go back more than twelve generations. Some go back as far as thirty generations. You get your family tree if you count yourself, then your father, then his father, and so on backwards till you come to the last person that your old men can remember. Each person in that list will represent a generation. If you give each generation thirty years, you can find out when the first person lived.

In Luhyaland, members of one clan do not intermarry. That is why when a Luhya boy meets a Luhya girl, the first thing he asks after knowing the name, is what clan the girl belongs to. Some very big clans with sub-clans, however, sometimes allow inter-marriage between the sub-clans More...


1470                                                    Muhindira
1500                                                    Andimi
1530                                                    Mulogooli

             |                              |                                |                              |

1560    Saali                     Kizungu                   Kirima                        Maavi
1590    Msweta
1620    Amandaalo
1650    Naliira
1680    Gisimba
1710    Ndegerwa
1740    Amaloba
1770    Mandu
1800    Liyenga
1830    Lubanda
1860    Debede
1890    Edebe
1920    Ben Edebe

Luhya sub-tribes:

Babukusu, Kabras, Abanyala ba Magero (Busia), Abanyala ba Ndombi (Kakamega), Abanyala (Uganda), Abawanga, Abamarama, Abatsotso, Abisukha, Abitakho, Avalogooli, Abatiriki, Abanyole (Kenya and Uganda), Abakisa (Abashisha), Abamarachi, Abakhayo, Abanyole, Abagweru (Uganda), Abasaamia (Kenya and Uganda), Abasonga (Nyanza Province), Bagisu (includes Bamasaba, Babadiri, Babuya and Bakhiende) of Uganda.

Lineage of Saali

In the family list we have only followed the lineage of Saali. After the death of Mulogooli, his sons began to spread gradually to where their sub-clans are to be found today. Saali, Kizungu and Kirima are now found in North Maragoli. Maavi stayed on where his father died, which is now South Maragoli.

Saali had four sons of his own. These four founded the following clans which bear their names: Avamumbaya, Avabuzuzu, Avasweta and Avamageza. The first two, Mumbaya and Buzuzu, were sons of one wife while Msweta and Mageza were sons of another wife.

Kizungu had two sons, Gisemba and Aliero, the founders of Avagizembwa and Avaliero. Other families which are said to belong to this sub-clan are: Avasuba, Avasaniaga, Avayonga and Avakebembe.

Kirima had four sons: Maseero, Saki, Masingira and Gamuguywa. They too founded the clans which bear their names: Avamaseero, Avasaki, Avamasingira and Avagamuguywa.

Maavi, the youngest child, also had four sons: Nondi, Logovo, Nagonda and Mutembe. Nagonda was the youngest of the four. Mutembe was an illegitimate child. The clans founded by these four children are Avanondi, Avalogovo, Avagonda and Avamutembe. More...
Barrack Muluka's 500 year history

The gods of Mt Elgon have told me that Raila Odinga is a slow punctured politician. They have said that he is a political maestro in atrophy. I went back to the mountain to canvass to be made an honorary junior Laibon. For when you have learnt the ways of your people and you can trace your genetic make up across 17 generations, you deserve to be made a junior Laibon. And I know that I am the son of Maina, the son of Muluka, son of Ogonji, son of Aswani. I know that this Aswani was the son of Mutsotso, son of Tsuma, son of Omusinde, the man who fought with his mother’s brother over bananas.

I know that the banana man was the son of Namukunda, the son of Nangofia. And this Nangofia was the son of Munyu, the son of Nyulia, for whom our Emanyulia Green Village was named. But Nyulia was born many years ago, when the Abamanyulia lived in a place called Alego Boro. Here, they spoke better Dholuo than Raila and James Orengo put together. And before they came to Alego Boro, these great people lived in Chula Yimbo. I know that Nyulia was the son of Akwenda, son of Shitindo, son of Musoka, who lived in Kakira, Uganda, in the early 16th century. And Musoka’s father was Mukholi. Armed with this knowledge, I went to talk to the elders of Mt Elgon, so that I may speak for the gods of the mountain as well as the Luo gods and Gikuyu gods. For, who can question the richness of my 500 years’ pedigree? As our names alone attest, I have the genetic make-up of the Luo, Gikuyu, Luhya, the Akamba and even the Ssabasajas of Buganda.

Barrack Okwaro Muluka
Tallest family tree: Barrack Okwaro Muluka, the publisher and columnist from the Abamanyulia clan in Kisa. He has traced his geneology 17 generations, one of the tallest family trees in Buluyia besides that of Saali in Maragoli described in the above example. The text opposite is an extract from an article published in the Standard on February 3 2009. Can anyone else beat Muluka's record? Email the editor your family tree to see how you well you know your ancestry.

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