It has been a long debate about these two communities. Our Luos in Kenya and the Igbo of Nigeria. They really resemble in terms of language, names, and various cultural practices. If you have come across the two communities, then you will discover how their resemblance is real.
The Luo tribe is currently found in many Eastern and Central African Countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan and DRC while there Igbo brothers live thousands of miles away in South East Nigeria. There are indeed many similarities between these communities in terms of their cultural believe values, names and even language.
I also guess that the similarities are not just like that. Maybe because they are both in the same continent, there may be kinship blood ties. Have a look at the following similarities:
1. Language Similarities:
Both the Luo and Igbo share the same Nilotic origin and perhaps that might have led to lingual similarities. In one of the discussions on the social media over the Igbo Luo ties, an Igbo man asked a question concerning the word bia which means come and the responses from Luos on that facebook page was overwhelming.
“Bia in Igbo means come, wonder what’s the Luo word for come as almost the hundreds of Igbo dialects in Nigeria still maintain the word ‘Bia’ as come,” asked Okechukwu Mgbada.
This question alone attracted many answers from Luos on that facebook page who were explaining the similarities. Okoth Roy Okello on his part responded by stating that in Luo a person can say bia nee to say come and see while George Patrick said bia bia means just come in Luo. All these are correct.
2. Similarities In Names:
You may have read a book or two that were written by the great Nigerian literature artistes like Chinua Achebe and Amadi Elechi who are also from the Igbo community. What do make of the names used in such books? Did you see any similarities with the ones from Grace Ogot, Okot P Bitok or even Adrian Onyando from the Luo community?
It is clear that some of the names from the Luo community are the same as those of their Igbo brothers. Sometimes the similarities are so outstanding that even their meanings are the same in both tribes. In both tribes the names of males mostly begin with letter ‘O’ while the names of females begins with letter ‘A’.
Both communities share names like Okeke, Okoye, Okore, Okeno, Oneya, Amadi, Anayo, Akomo and many other such names. At times the difference can only be noticed in spelling for example; Akpala in Igbo and Apala in Luo however the meaning is the same in both.
What makes the comparison between the names of the two communities even more interesting is that there are situations when the names bore the same meaning culturally. The Name Akomo or Okomo is Luo name meaning a person born during harvesting period and that’s exactly what it means in the Igbo community too.
For those who read Achebe’s book ‘Things fall apart’ remembers the Okonkwo the legend. The Luo version of Okonkwo is Okongo which means a person born during a drinking spree in both tribes.
2. Cultural Norms:
Many cultural similarities can also be cited between these two brothers in terms of how they conduct rituals that regards things like marriage, birth and even death. In a very surprising turn even the naming of a newborn within these two communities must follow a certain norm within the society for example a child could be named according to seasons.
3. Religious Beliefs:
Before the introduction of the foreign religions to Africa like Islam and Christianity the Luos believed in a sun god called chieng while the Igbo of Nigeria believed in a sun god called chi. This similarity even in the manner in which they called the sun is perhaps one of the reasons why both the Igbo and the Luos are currently coming to terms with their past shared heritage.
A comparative research on the kind of foods both tribes consume in their cultures found out that both tribes take pleasure in consumption of fish, cassava, yam, maize and dried meat. Looking into a people’s cultural food might not be a good point to cite however no history of a people has ever survived without the mention of cultural delicacies.
On the intellectual front both communities have always produced great minds over time. From renowned literature gurus like Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo and Amadi Elechi of the Igbo and Luo writers like Grace Ogot to great scientists like the ICIPE founder Thomas Odhiambo.
It is because of these ties between the Igbo community and the Luo community that it is even rumored that the former Ugandan President Opollo Milton Obote funded the Igbo Community during their fight for independence in the Biafaran war.
As Bob Marley would later put it that if you know your history then you will know where you are coming from, perhaps it is time to exploit these historical similarities between African tribes.
Content created and supplied by: RobertOnsongo (via Opera News )
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