ingwe logo

Home | Food | Tools | Music | Clothing | Furniture | Shelter | Hospitality | Marriage | Births | Circumcision | Taboos | Sports | News
Hunting | Trade | Warfare | Kinship | Neighbours | Religion | Education | Unusual People | Death | Government | Communication

Traditional Luhya homesteads

The standard lint in Luhyaland was made of sticks filled in and plastered with mud. The roof structure was tied with sticks and was thatched with grass or local reeds. The floor was beaten hard and then regularly smeared with cowdung.

There was only one door in the common hut. There were windows, but openings were left all round the top of the wall for ventilation. Often little round holes were also left in the wall to let in fresh air. The roof provided wide eaves to make a verandah. Parts of the verandah had a wall round them to be used as a store for firewood, and also to house the grinding stone (oluchina).

traditional homestead
Arrangement of a homestead:

A traditional Luhya homestead. There was a definite arrangement of huts in the home. This differed slightly from place to place. The usual order was as follows: the hut of the first wife was directly opposite the gate of the home. That of the second wife was to the right of it; that of the third to the left of it, and so on alternately till all the huts of the wives were placed.

Rituals associated with building a hut

Before a new hut could be erected, the father or uncle of the owner had to be present to place the first stick in the ground. If the place was away from any old home, that is, if it was olukala, a chicken had to be killed and a little ceremony performed. On some occasions a very temporary hut built with sticks and grass only was erected for the inmates. This was necessary when starting a new home, or during certain types of funerals, or for people isolated due to an infectious disease such as leprosy. More>>>

Walled villages

There were walled villages in many parts of Luhyaland. Instead of fenciiig the home with euphorbia or with thorm, a wall of clay was built round the huts. Outside the wall usually ran a ditch (olukoba) all round. The walled villages were a protection against night raids by the Teso, or the Abakwabi (Maasai), who were generally known as Abaseebe (now generally refers to Kikuyu).

chetambe fort
Chetambe Fort: Walled villages were common in Bukusu (eg Lumboka and Chetambe), Bukhayo, Saamia and Bunyala (Busia) and in Wanga. They were built to protect villagers from cattle raiders.

Designed and maintained by Google Media Ltd About Disclaimer Copyright Feedback Links Contacts