Alternative Names

Abaluyia are also known as Baluyia or Luyia, or by the alternative spelling Abaluhya/Luhya. During the colonial occupation, the British called them Bantu Kavirondo or WaKavirondo—derogatory terms today. Abaluyia is a social and political identity claimed by 17 Kenyan ethnic communities: Bukusu (Kitosh, Vugusu), Idakho (Idaxo), Isukha (Isuxa), Kabras, Khayo, Kisa, Marachi, Maragoli (Avalogoli, Logoli), Marama, Nyala, Nyole (Nyore), Samia, Tachoni, Tiriki, Tsotso, and Wanga (Bahanga). (Songa, in Nyanza Province, speak a Luyia dialect but claim a Luo identity.) The Bantu prefix "ba" or "aba" (or "ava," indicating the unvoiced "b") signifies "people"; for example, Babukusu are "Bukusu people," and so also with Banyala, Bamarachi, Abawanga, and the rest. (Ba + Idakho or Isukha produces Bidakho and Bisukha.) One person is indicated by the prefix "mu" or "omu," as in Mukhayo or Omukhayo. Place is indicated by the prefix "bu," as in Busamia, and language by "lu," as in Luluyia or Lutiriki.

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