How Luhyia interaction with Nilotic speakers facilitated cultural exchange

Some Luhyia clans such as Abashimuli of the Idakho were formed.

Some Abaluhyia picked up and started speaking the languages of the people they interacted with. This is more so with the Marachi, Kisa and Samia, who started speaking the Luo language. On the other hand, the people with whom Abaluhyia interacted adopted Luhyia dialects.

From the Kalenjin, the Luhyia learnt cattle keeping and age-set organization.

Some such as the Wanga bought or borrowed military services from the Maasai, who also had entered Luhyia territory.

Sharing of practices, particularly in the border region resulted. E.g. Southern Luhyialand, especially Bunyala, Samia and Busonga (Usonga) have been heavily influenced by the Luo due to sharing of language and rituals, such as removal of teeth.

Identify the dialects that constitute Luhyia community.

Eighteen major dialects constitute Abaluhyia. These are:

  • Tiriki,
  • Maragoli,
  • Isukha,
  • Idaho,
  • Banyore,
  • Kisa,
  • Batsotso,
  • Marama,
  • Wanga,
  • Banyala,
  • Batura
  • Kabarasi,
  • Bukusu,
  • Tachoni,
  • Khayo,
  • Marachi,
  • Basonga,
  • Samia.

Each of these dialects consists of several clans and tended to exist independently, through remotely connected ties to the rest of Abaluhyia.

In fact, Abaluhyia were constituted as a community in 1947, when the British colonial government administered all these Luhyia dialects as a single entity.