Elimu Asilia

Kenya's Indigenous Knowledge

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Photo showing Rusinga, Mbita, Mfangano and Takawiri islands.
Source: Gilbert Busolo, 2016

The Suba (Abasuba) means “the people who are always wandering”. They originally migrated from Central Africa in particular Uganda and settled on the two islands of Rusinga and Mfangano in Lake Victoria. The later migrants were distinguished by their new geographic locations of Gwassi and Uregi Hills. Abasuba are believed to be the last people to settle in Kenya between 1500 to 1800 years. They speak Olusuba which is a Bantu language, a mixture of Luganda and Lusoga languages. Olusuba has nine distinct dialects.

The Suba language is on the verge of extinction as a result of assimilation and intermarriage with the dominant neighbouring Luo. The Suba speak both Olusuba and Dholuo.  Culturally, they have adopted much of the Luo cultural practices except initiation (circumcision) and arrangement of the homestead. This exhibition traces the history of the Abasuba  community to present day. 

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