Luo People of Kenya and Tanzania

Luo
person Jaluo (m)/ Nyaluo (f)
people Joluo
language Dholuo
country Pinj Luo/ Lolwe

The Luo (also called Joluo, singular Jaluo) are an ethnic group in western Kenya, eastern Uganda, and northern Tanzania. They are part of a larger group of ethnolinguistically related Luo peoples who inhabit an area ranging from Southern Sudan (South Sudan), South-Western Ethiopia, Northern and Eastern Uganda, South-Western Kenya and North-Eastern Tanzania.

The Luo are the third largest ethnic group (13%) in Kenya, after the Kikuyu (22%) and the Luhya (14%). The Luo and the Kikuyu inherited the bulk of political power in the first years following Kenya's independence in 1963. The Luo population in Kenya was estimated to be 3,185,000 in 1994 and 4.6 million in 2010. The Tanzanian Luo population was estimated at 280,000 in 2001 and 800,000 in 2010.

The main Luo livelihood is fishing, farming and pastoral herding. Outside Luoland, the Luo comprise a significant fraction of East Africa's intellectual and skilled labour force in various professions. Others members work in eastern Africa as tenant fishermen, small scale farmers, and urban workers.

They speak the Dholuo language, which belongs to the Western Nilotic branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family spoken by other Luo-speaking peoples, such as the Lango, Acholi, Adhola and Alur (all of Uganda and parts of Sudan and Eastern Congo). The four waves of Luo migration were chiefly from the four Luo-speaking groups (Lwoo), especially Acholi and Padhola. Dholuo, spoken in Kenya, is considered to be proper and standard Luo because it contains elements from all other Lwoo languages. It is estimated that Dholuo has 90% lexical similarity with Lep Alur (Alur language); 83% with LepAchol (Acholi language); 81% with Lango language, 93% with Dhopadhola (Padhola language), 74% with Anuak, and 69% with Jurchol(Luwo) & Pari.

The Luo are the originators of a number of interesting music styles, such as Benga.

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