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This page will highlight historical events and achievements in which the Luyia people were the first Luyia, Kenyans, or Africans to blaze the trail. So if you know anyone with extraordinary avant garde credentials please contact the

Did you know that ...
AVIATION: Hezekiah Maloba Openda (1927 - 2005), the first black principal of the East African School of Aviation. He was from Musanda, Wanga and is entombed in a mausoleum at Ekero, Mumias where he had settled.
MUSIC: As far as composing lyrics is concerned, the first Luyia to do so was a man known as Akukha from Wanga in early 1940s while the first Luo was Olima and in Kikuyuland, there was one going by the name Sina Kikombe. Other early music legends from Luhyaland include Joshua Omwami and Bulimo both from Kisa.  But it was a litungu player, Atieri who was the first Luhya to have a record cut in mid 1940s. Atieri from Ebbayi in Bunyore lives in relative obscurity. The first music artist to receive presidential commendation is David Amunga (Order of the Grand Warrior in 2004). Amunga, of the America to Africa fame was also the first musician to qualify for royalties in East Africa.
FOOTBALL: McDonald Mariga is the first peson from Eastern Africa to play top flight soccer in Europe. He plays for Inter Milan and has featured in the prestigious Uefa championships, the ultimate dream of every footballer in club soccer. He is the son of former Abaluhya FC player, Noah Wanyama.

JOURNALISM: Did you know that WWW Awori was the first known Luyia journalist? Awori edited the Indian-owned Swahili weekly Habari in I945 then moved on to edit Sauti ya Mwafrika before establishing his own paper in 1948 known as Radio Posta which began as a Swahili weekly and developed into a daily. In 1945 Awori also began a Luyia newspaper, Omuluhya, which lasted until 1947. The Maragoli Society started Mulina was Vosi in 1949. In 1950 Avaluhya Times was established and Omwemeli Wabaluhya in 1952. The second known Luyia journalist was Joseph Daniel Otiende who jointly edited the weekly African Leader, established in 1946 and written in Swahili and English with James Gichuru. Both individuals used the media as a mouthpiece for political ends. Otiende became the first minister for education in the Kenyatta government while Awori was the first Luyia to sit in the Legislative Assembly before independence in 1963.

JOURNALISM: Hilary Boniface Ng'weno from Samia in Busia was the first African editor in chief of the Daily Nation. He was appointed in 1964 by the Aga Khan after graduating from Harvard with a degree in nuclear physics. He resigned in 1965 over a matter of principle and founded Joe Magazine. In 1975, he founded the Weekly Review which dominated the weekly news scene for over 15 years during which time he had diversified his media empire to include Financial Review, Industrial Review and video production under his umbrella media firm, Stellagraphics.
ACADEMICS: Dr Mathias Wanyama Oggema was first Kenyan to get a PhD in Genetics (Cytogenetics from University of Manitoba, Canada, 1971), Wheat Breeding. First African Director of a research instiutute of Kenya and youngest (at age 32, PhD at 30 years) – now KARI Njoro. First Kenyan to carry out post-doctorate studies in USSR – in “the use of Radiation in genetic modification wheat genes for leaf rust immunity (that is GMO, but over 30 years ago!). Pioneer in this field. Awardee of numerous awards (UN-FA)) including work in Ethiopia that developed a wheat variety capable of maturiry in less than 2.5months to counter the effects of the 1984 drought. He is Omusamia of the Abatabona clan.
SCHOOLS: CHAVAKALE BOYS HIGH SCHOOL was the first Harambee day secondary school in Kenya. It started in 1960 with the help of Quakers.
PARLIAMENT: WWW Awori was the first Luyia to enter the Legislative Council (current parliament). The Year was 1952.
PARLIAMENT: Kenneth Otiato Marende from Ebusikhale, Bunyore is the first Luyia Speaker of Parliament. He served as speaker between 2008-2013. Prior to that he was Emuhaya MP (2007-2013).
PARLIAMENT: John Baraza Khaoya from Bungoma was the first African Sergeant at Arms of the Legislative Council (Now Parliament)
EDUCATION: Mr Joseph Daniel "JD" Otiende from Maragoli was the 1st Minister of Education in Independent Kenya. The Year was 1963
EDUCATION: Christopher S Khaemba (principal Alliance Boys) is the 1st Dean of African Leadership Academy (Johannesburg). He took over in Sept. 2008 - 2013. See Profile
EDUCATION: Mr Nicholas Pius Wabuyabo was the first African Headmaster of St. Peter's Mumias Boys Primary School. He is now deceased.
EDUCATION: Mr William Melchizedek Okech was the 1st African Headmaster of Maseno High School. He was from Bunyore
EDUCATION: Florida Amakobe Karani is the Chancellor of Maseno University and a Kenyan woman educationist of firsts. Prof Karani was the first woman chancellor, the first woman university administrator as deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Nairobi.
EDUCATION: Mrs Elizabeth Masiga (deceased) from Ebusiekwe in Bunyore, was the first woman to serve as chief inspector of schools, director of education, and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education.
TRANSPORT: Nabongo Mumia was the first Luyia to own a bicycle and later a car
COLONIAL: Elijah Masinde of Dini ya Msambwa was the first Luyia to resist colonial rule
MEDICINE: Dr Vincent Mumia Osundwa from the Abashitsetse clan in Wanga is the first Kenyan to be admitted as a fellow of the venerated Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
MEDICINE: Dr Elon Willis Wameyo from Abashitsetse clan in Wanga, was the first Gynaecologist of African Descent in Kenya after qualifying in 1969.  He was also the first known medical doctor among his Abawanga tribesmen. He suffered polio as a child which inspired him to study medicine. He later joined politics and died in 2003.
MEDICINE: Dr. Alan Lubanga Kisia was the first Kenyan anaesthetist
MEDICINE: Prof Hillary Ojiambo from Samia was the 1st cardiologist in sub-Saharan Africa. He is now deceased. His widow, Dr Julia Ojiambo, is the first Kenyan woman to be appointed to the executive in 1974 as an assistant minister.
MEDICINE: Prof Nelson Awori from Samia pioneered renal transplant in Kenya. Now deceased
MEDICINE: Dr Majale from Samia was the 1st Orthopaedic surgeon in Kenya. Now deceased
MEDICINE: Prof. Gabriel Anabwani from Bunyore (Kilingili), is the first Director, Baylor College of Medicine in Gaberone, Botswana. See Profile
MEDICINE: Arthur Okwemba from Bunyore was the first African medical doctor in Kenya. “I remember him as the most intelligent man on earth from his Makerere days at Mulago teaching hospital,” recalled his brother, William Okwemba. Born in 1917, Dr Okwemba died in 1947 aged only 30.
NURSING: Rose Ayuya Oloo born in Khwisero, Kisa, was the first African Nurse. She trained in Kakamega and is the mother of Raila Odinga's wife, Ida. She is still alive. She is also the first African to open a bank account then known as Posta.
INTERNET: Joseph Mukuna Ekhuya Simekha from Bunyore is the founding president of Unarete, the Africa chapter of the international organisation devoted to bridging the digital divide. See profile
INTERNET: Ayisi Boniface Makatiani is co-founder of Africa Online, the largest ISP in Africa outside of South Africa along with Amolo Ng'weno. He has been voted top CEO in EA several times. He currently owns Fanisi Capital. He is a graduate of the prestigious MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology) in Boston, USA
MARITIME: Juvenal Joseph Muka Shiundu from Mumias is the first naval architect in Sub Saharan Africa. Profile
MATHEMATICS: James Aryada: First East African to get a First Class Degree in Mathematics at Oxford. He died in 1984 and was a Saamia of Uganda.

MATHEMATICS: Prof Morris Sika Alala from Butsotso was the first ethnic professor of mathematics in Kenya. Now deceased. See Profile

NUTRITION: Prof Ruth Oniang'o is the first professor of nutrition in Kenya and 1st woman professor of nutrition in sub Saharan Africa. See profile
WOMEN: Justice (rtd) Effie Owuor was the first woman high court and court fo appeal judge. She was formerly known as Effie Magisu and was born in Idakho.
WOMEN: Dr Julia Ojiambo from Funyula, Busia is the 1st Luyia female MP after independence, 1st woman assistant minister in Kenya; the 1st female lecturer at University of Nairobi. Read her amazing story. See also her profile
WOMEN: Mrs Priscilla Agufwana Ingasiani Abwao from Maragoli is the 1st Luyia female to sit in parliament before independence; then known as Legco. She died on November 17 2009.
WOMEN: Prof Judi Wangalwa Wakhungu, executive director of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Nairobi was first woman geologist in the Ministry of Energy and Regional Development, where her duties entailed exploring for geothermal energy in Kenya's Rift Valley. Prof. Wakhungu was also the first female petroleum geologist in the National Oil Corporation of Kenya. She was also the first female faculty member in the Department of Geology at the University of Nairobi. CLICK HERE to read her profile. Updated: Prof Wakhungu is now the minister for natural resources and environment, a position to which she was appointed by President Kenyatta in 2013.
WOMEN: Prof Ruth Oniang'o is the first woman professor of nutrition science in sub Saharan Africa. She is also the first professor of nutrition in Kenya.
WOMEN: Dr. Truphosa Otindo from Ebusiekwe in Bunyore,was the first female director of Veterinary Services in Kenya

CHURCH: Cardinal Maurice Michael Otunga (1923-2003) was the first and so far only Kenyan to be made a Cardinal by the Pope. Links

CHURCH: Festo Olang' from Bunyore was the first African Archbishop of the Anglican Church. He was elected in 1970 and retired in 1980. He was succeeded by the Rev Dr Manasses Kuria. Read his biography.
LAW: Sibi Okumu from Busia was the first African Magistrate. He was appointed in 1965
BANKING: Rose Ayuya Oloo born in Khwisero, Kisa, was the first African to open a bank account in Kakamega in 1937, the 25th person to do so. In those days it was known as Posta which later became Postbank. She's also the first trained African nurse in Kakamega and is the mother of Raila Odinga's wife, Ida. She is still alive.
BANKING: Dr Mary Okelo from the famous Awori stalk, was the first woman bank manager in Kenya. She now owns Makini schools in Nairobi
ACTUARIAL SCIENCE: James Olubayi, Chairman of Alexander Forbes Kenya, the financial and risk services company of South Africa, was the first Luhya to qualify as an actuary. See interview
CIVICS: Nathan Adembesa from Museywa in Tiriki was the first African Town Clerk of Mombasa. He was originally from Maragoli.
BOXING: Robert Napunyi Wangila from Samia is the first African to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing. He won the welterweight title in Seoul, South Korea in 1988 and proceeded to a professional boxing career in the US where he unfortunately died in 1994.
UNITED NATIONS: Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, the former MP for Kimilili and minister for trade and commerce, is the first Luyia individual (and Kenyan) to head a UN organisation. Dr Kituyi was appointed the 7th secretary general of the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Sept 2013.
rose ayuya
Ida Odinga's mother, Rose Ayuya from Khwisero in Kakamega was the first African trained nurse and the first African to open a bank account in Kakamega in 1937. The account is still open until today.
Morris Sika Alala
Prof Morris Alala from Butsotso, first indigenous professor of mathematics in Kenya.
Priscilla Agufwana Abwavo
Priscilla Agufwana Ingasiani Abwao: First Kenyan woman legislator who died November 17, 2009.
Joseph Daniel Otiende
Joseph Otiende from Vihiga was Kenya's first minister for education in 1963.
Robert Napunyi Wangila
Robert Wangila, the only African to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing (1988 in Seoul, South Korea).
Ruth Khasaya Oniang'o
Prof Ruth Oniang'o from Butsotso is Kenya's first professor in nutrition.
Dr. Elon Wameyo
Dr Elon Wameyo, the first Kenyan Gynaecologist, taking Oath of Office at State House, Nairobi
Florida Amakobe Karani
Prof Florida Amakobe Karani from Bunyore, is the first Kenyan woman vice chancellor of a national university
WWW Awori
WWW Awori was the first known Luyia journalist as well as the first Luyia tribesman to sit on the Legislative Council (Legco) in 1957.
Mukhisa Kituyi
Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, the 7th secretary general of UNCTAD.
Judi Wangawla Wakhungu
Prof Judi Wangalwa Wakhungu: First woman geologist in Kenya.