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Francis Atwoli
Francis Atwoli, the rumbustious trade unionist is currently the leading crusader for the elusive Luyia unity. The man from Kisa sub county in Kakamega, it seems, has the wherewithal to succeed where many have failed – to achieve political unity that has eluded the heterogeneous community for more than seven decades. His achievements in national and global trade unionism offer him commanding tools to leverage his persona and shepherd Luyia leaders to drink from one political well. It’s a monumental task but not entirely unachievable. Other amorphous groups like the Kalenjin have managed to achieve this unity so perhaps the Luyia can borrow a leaf from them. He says he currently has no ambition to go for any elective position so the leading Luyia personalities like Musalia Mudavadi, Wycliffe Oparanya, Cyrus Jirongo, Moses Wetangula, etc have nothing to fear. Rather, they need to coalesce around him and support this noble objective.

The quest to unify the Luyia community is by no means a walk in the park. A walk down memory lane reveals that the community as currently constituted, did not exist prior to 1945. Instead what did was a collection of several closely interlinked tribal groups speaking mutually intelligible tongues. Historians and early anthropologists noticed that although these groups spoke different tongues, there seemed to be more that united than divided them. This realisation occurred at a time in our history when it was more advantageous to belong to a sizeable tribal body politic than a small one. It was this realisation that informed the birthing of a super tribe which we know today as Luyia. Since then, efforts to unite the various segments politically have come a cropper. But this hasn’t dimmed hope that one day a messiah shall be anointed by the gods to lead the Luyia people to a political Canaan. Whatever your personal views on Francis Atwoli, please let us all put our differences asunder and unite behind him for the sake of our children.

Everything about Luyia Culture in One Book
Luyia Culture
Luyia of Kenya: A Cultural Profile is a holistic emic view of the customary beliefs of the Luyia people of East Africa.  Written by Shadrack Amakoye Bulimo, an experienced journalist who previously worked for the Nation and Standard newspapers in Kenya, the 660-page book provides a defrosted window into Luyia cosmology separating fact from fiction.  The book is a cradle-to-grave account of how the Luyia live and die, love and hate, and undertake the rituals of initiations and practice witchcraft. The author tackles the taboo subject of witchcraft and how widespread belief in the occult even among the educated and Christians is still a major hindrance to economic empowerment in Luyialand. The author provides an elaborate analysis of rites of passage - child birth, marriage, circumcision, and death - and how these institutions are governed by customary traditions. These institutions served the clan community well in the pre-European days but are now under siege from modern global economy. This book is an attempt at preserving the Luyia culture for future generations. “I was challenged by my children who made inquiries about their cultural heritage and realized how little I knew then,” explains Bulimo.  “I embarked on a learning journey and a discovery of a body of knowledge which this book encapsulates.”

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