Abanyala Ba Kakamega

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This book documents the origins, history, and culture of the Banyala ba Mukhamba of the greater Luhya Nation. The Banyala are predominantly found in Navakholo sub-county, Kakamega County in Kenya though a significant population has, over time, moved to Bungoma and Trans Nzoia Counties. The book traces their origin and subsequent pre-colonial migration from Egypt, Tororo, Nambale, and Busia in Uganda during the 1500 up to Navakholo in North Kavirondo (Western Kenya). It lists the forefathers, describes the culture and history of some of the 50 clans, and the history of chieftainship from the days of Munyala, Mukhamba, Nasokho wa Nalukuo, Masirivai, Maero wa Masirivai, Ngao, Manyuru, Ndombi wa Namusia, Andrea Ndombi, Paulo Udoto, Justus Mukopi, Benjamin Wanjala, Barasa Ongeti, Matayo Oyalo, Ferdinand Muterwa, Bakari Nandikove (Bunyala East), Moses Wachakana (Bunyala Central) and Chirikona (Bunyala West). The book discusses the community’s various cultural aspects such as the naming of children, circumcision ceremonies, age groups, marriage, burial rites, traditional foods and bedwetting. It also deals with how the community shared meat from a slaughtered cow in a homestead, witchcraft, sorcery, music and weaponry. It further examines various Banyala taboos, superstitions and beliefs. Apart from delving into some of the community’s sayings and proverbs and their interpretation, it focuses on the spread of foreign religions, particularly Christianity and Islam among the Banyala of Kakamega County and subsequently identifies some of the great pioneering personalities of Bunyala in various fields like education, business, music, farming and public administration. Lastly, it outlines a proposed future development plan for Navakholo Sub-County. This book fills a knowledge gap and provides Banyala posterity with reference material about their history and culture. It also provides some invaluable insights about the Banyala that will be useful to researchers and the general public. It is also a critical tool in imparting cultural values to the Banyala children, thus bridging the cultural and historical knowledge gap in Bunyala society. The book is a must-read for educators, sociologists, anthropologists, community development workers, historians and general readers.

This is an excellent contribution to literature on Luhya culture. This is the first time the history and culture of Banyalas has been documented. This book is well researched [Prof. Judith Waudo, Lecturer & Dean of Graduate School, Kenyatta University, Kenya].

I am impressed to learn that Banyalas have written about their culture. Most Luhyas have not written their history and culture and I am indeed grateful. Foremost, I applaud the book’s adoption of a digital platform for data collection [Hon Dr. Noah Wekesa, Former Minister, Ministry of Forestry & Wildlife, Kenya].

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