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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


Updated: Oct 25, 2021

Puonj re uru mana (Get well versed with)

kwand go yo ndalo (algebraic maths)

kod kwand medo ( and arithmetic)

Mago ye kwano maber. (those are the productive maths)

Aye uru ekwand (desist from the maths of sharing)

pogo kod golo oko. (hand outs)-


This old man was telling us to desist from spending on consumerism and sloth once we go to kapango and start working. We should spend less unless it was adding value or increasing the value.

The habit of spending spree at end of the week or month by giving out or sharing our earnings as if we were bees supplying nectar is very new to the Luo community. For a start we never had weekends or month ends to accompany binge drinking. This modern habit came with weekly servitude and monthly working style that made workers feel like they are freed after being imprisoned to create their own retirement package. How now? In industrial mining countries like the the Gabon, the Congos, Zambia and South Africa where paydays are weekly the binge drinking is weekly with disastrous consequences as there is no propensity to save. No wonder musicians and footballers from such countries find Nairobi a hard place to ply their trade. There no disposable income for such an industry. Is it not President Kaunda who wept openly in public for his countrymen to stop drinking. And how do migration enforcement agencies trap a Zimbabwean in the diaspora? Easy, they just go to the nearest pub and wait. Don’t get me started with the Congolese Sappeur.

Patrobas Ranyuongi Oyoo was a very rural person in the 1960s. He had done his tour of duty in WWI and WWII. And he had tales to tell that is why I remember a lot of things he told me. And he added that none of kit Luo gi timbe gi taught the maths of division and subtraction of wealth every time it was harvested. In fact, in not so distant memory all harvest were kept in dero or dak or at most moso. Not fritted away in sloth. Words like horo, hetho, miluma, buth and ndanda are negative and very much discouraged like the deadly sins. And what is worse it that such negative words followed a clan and the reputation of such pervasion preceded a young man who was ready to marry.

As a pre-teen I nagged him a lot with kidology to repeat the stories and as a 90-year-old he was patient enough to repeat to me that none of Luo rituals taught people to divide or subtract wealth and give away more than the new way of life.

In my understanding therefore, Luo customs do not make one poor. In my opinion Luo customs, going by Patrobas Ranyuongi Oyoo gospel is the reason Luo women are millionaires today. And by that extension Luo customs is not the reason why a Luo may not be a millionaire already.

The reasons why we Luos sometimes fail to be millionaires are basically simple reasons that apply to everyone in any part of the world and are primarily rooted to Mzee Oyoo’s teaching. And conversely it may explain why Luo women on the other hand are doing better on the path to wealth creation for retirement.

Luo Women Are Not Living Beyond Their Means

If you are making this money mistake, you are not alone. I am right next to you. There are many of us who try to finance their dreams. They push their budget to the breaking point. Some live hand to mouth, others fall into the costly trap of Shylock debt. The best case scenario here is that you are not accumulating any wealth. The worst case is that you are setting yourself up for bankruptcy or having to work forever. Constantly drowning under an insurmountable pile of consumer borrowing, is stressful and costly. In other words, ibadhori in dholuo language.

There is nothing a Luo woman fears more than badhruok. To a luo woman, badhruok is very close to being a woman of loose morals. They don’t see it just in monetary terms but close to chastity issues.

Around 1/3 of us carry debt from month to month. This could mean hundreds of thousands upon thousands of shillings per year are flushed down the toilet on crazy amounts of interest and credit charges.

Men like to compete to keep up with their fellow men. It’s a Luo thing and is manly and alright, except where fellow male competitors are just as broke, so not much to aspire to there. They are no pace setters in other words. Just a mere rat race going nowhere.

Luo women on the other hand don’t compete like that. If it is something she cannot compete in, then she will malign it until it ceases to be a target among her acquaintances. In other words, it will fail to be a spending pattern for her. She will even influence the husband to change churches or estates or drinking buddies to avoid that competition. Luo women just don’t enter a race they have no chance of winning. And I love that. I even love it more when they package it with phrases, like sicho, thichria etc.

Luo Women Have A Spending Plan

A spending plan is about managing your financial expectations to avoid unwelcome surprises, and so you will still have money left over for the better things in life. Think vacations, clothes, massages or even money for a babysitter.

Luo women take account of major expenses that easily fit within their income. And that spending plan will pave the way for bigger splurge purchases – like a refrigerator, a wardrobe or a new car, etc.

People who do not have a spending plan, will always just keep spending whatever is in their bank account on any given day. This will likely mean they never have the money necessary when the big bill comes due. Alternatively, even worse, they will run up sky-high credit card bills that can’t be paid off each month. From my personal experience, the first ten years in the diaspora is rough (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil). Don’t repeat his last statement outside this blog.

Without a spending plan, one will probably just keep paying out whatever is in their bank account and never have money when big ticket items (or college tuition for your kids, for that matter) jump onto your wish list. Or worse, these will end up on your credit card, accumulating disastrous amounts of interest.

A very good example in born spending plan in Luo women is when Luo women go out say for a buddy lunch. It is never a case of woman pays all the bills hoping that one day when they meet again another one will pay everything. No way. Never. On the spot it is synchronised. One picks the drinks, the other the meals another the transport, and another the desert etc. And if one of the group members picked an expensive drink, the one paying the drinks is not afraid to say, “by the way your drink is too expensive, owada. An marach nyar ng’ane

Luo Women Do Not Choose The Wrong Career Path

If I had a ten thousand shillings for every one of us that I know who went to college, but isn’t working in what they trained for I would have another million shillings. This is mostly because we choose speculative and explosive career paths. This is because for hundreds of years this was our lifestyle. The arithmetic wealth creation (2+2) was for the women. The Luo men’s wealth creation was algebraic (2x2).

While women did their constant gardening then wait for harvesting and start all over again. Now you know how criminal novelist Le Carre' came up with the title of the book and blockbuster movie set in western Kenya on brutal murder of the great son of the lake and an English girl. The men did our raids to come with wealth. Then it was Dhi kapango for 12 months or so to come with wealth capital enough to by 12 cows etc. Then it graduated to careers.

Logically it follows that any Luo woman with any income, is right now becoming a millionaire if not already a millionaire because of that persistence and consistence in wealth creation. Bigger salaries will increase the odds that they reach the status of having a million-shillings net worth. And women never hate their jobs if it gives them a salary at the end of the day. They will love that job. It is in their DNA to love their job. If you doubt me then try this simple example. Try and malign a Luo woman’s marriage and husband. Do this at your own risk and don’t blame me. This is the reason the reason why they have a prevalence to marry within their tribe, to eliminate the chance of having their marriages maligned.

For the us who usually hate our jobs or careers, it will show. This can result in slower career advancement over time. While it may be easier said than done, choosing the right career path that comes with the potential to earn enough to support your desired lifestyle and is something you actually enjoy is a major life quest for many because of the historical injustices. Is this new thing?

Let us examine dowry or bride price. The explosive cows brought the first days basically belong to the father in law. The mother in law only gets a meagre ayie. But fool if the father in law think it is all over. Why is the mother in law always content and smiling when the father in law rakes in the all the cows? It is because she knows that culturally her gifts are non-spectacular but are endless. And they are culturally enshrined from diero, dher kayiem etc. The list and excuse to shower/spoil maro is long and endless and I am guilty if you say so.

Luo Women Are Not Afraid of Investing

Traditionally Luo men were adventurers in raids. Their economy was like that of the Vikings and hence the terms the 'Vikings of the Nile' to describe their ancient past along the river Nile. This is exactly how they expanded the empire, set up dynasties and Kingdoms around the Lake Victoria and deep into the Congo Basins even crate taxa collection systems that gave rise to Kabaka the name of their rulership in that region. With new economic order and restrictive boundaries after the colonization the Luo have been impacted on greatly. And Dr David Livingstone complained of this and wrote journals upon journals asking for the Africans to be left in peace. The journals were recently uncovered and are being published.

Also the WWs took out a lot of able bodied Luo men immediately after Islam’s slave trade. The setback has not been made any easier by the educational system that takes away years of wealth creation from 14 years of age to 30 years of age. The women were not very much impacted except from the delayed years of wealth creation. Why? Because when a Luo leaves Uni at 23, the female is ready to settle and embark on wealth creation path while the man burdened by modern day expectations is not even sure of the career path. Maybe now you can understand the depth of the words dhi-tedo and nyombo and why they are not used interchangeably between the Luo sexes.

This also explains why it is easier for Luo women to coalesce under several cooperative economics like nyoluoro, yuaga-a-yuagi, Merry Go Round, KEYO, Luo Women Worldwide, Mond Alego gi Ugenya Association(Maua). Some sort of constant and persistent cooperative pooling of resources whether in Ukwala or outer hills of Scotland England or outer Mongolia. Of course the men are mostly watching in a stupor or spell checking the constitution for 3 years before they start any such ventures.

In the new economic order, it will be nearly impossible for the typical worker to become a millionaire without at least doing some investing. A few movie stars and pro footballers will break this rule, but from there they will have trouble making their money last if it invested and grow over time.

Investment is the key to financial success and living on just your pay check alone is suicidal. And that is why no Luo woman beyond the age of 18 is not in some sort on nyoluoro.

You may feel safe, stuffing your life saving under the mattress but you are losing money each and every day after inflation eats away at your purchasing power. If you want to achieve and maintain financial independence, you will need the help of compounding interest via some type of investing.

There are risks associated with investing in anything from cryptocurrencies, stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and even buying a home. In my opinion, the risks of not investing are even greater. By not taking any investment risk you are likely guaranteeing what you are most afraid of, running out of money in retirement.

Example How to Accumulate a Million Shillings:

Worked Example 1*: Let’s say you wanted to accumulate 1 million shillings by the time you were 70.

Option 1: Starting at 22 and earning 1% (after any taxes and fees) you would need to save Kshs 1,354 per month to become a millionaire. That will be tough or impossible for most people.

Option 2: However, with the help of compounding interest, if you were able to earn 10% (after taxes and fees), you would need to save just Shs 71 per month. That is less than Shs 2.50 per day. I’m confident we could all find a way to come up with Shs 2.50 per day to become a millionaire. Right?

This is a simple example of the magic of compounding interest. The same end result, but you can get away with saving a whopping 95% less! Putting this another way, if you saved Shs 1354 per month from 22 to 70 and earned 10% you would have accumulated over Shs19 million.

Investment is the key to financial Success and living on just your pay check alone is suicidal. And that is why no Luo woman beyond the age of 18 is not in some sort on nyoluoro

For me, Cryptocurrency investment is one of the man’s ground-breaking invention in finance, offering beneficial alternative avenues to the people who have limited access and benefit from what society presents. Cryptocurrency investment is the right choice for 2021 and beyond. It provides a good platform for investment and just like every other investment, it has its own risks, but you can significantly diminish the chances of something going wrong when you have the right knowledge and information.

There are so many online platforms you can invest with but not all platforms are legit so when investing, you must apply knowledge and always seek help from crypto experts to guide you on well regulated and registered company platforms to invest in.

But who said the million is only in cash. How about the investments in fixed assets?

Luo Women Are Not Saving Enough?

Luo women know that a shilling saved is worth more than a shilling earned. Remember, you don’t have to pay taxes on a shilling saved. But most people believe that just spend, tomorrow I will earn more. See the folly and the mileage Luo woman gain without telling you.

Luo women also believe that there will never be a better day to start saving than today. Even if they can only save a tiny amount, they will be better off than if they never started at all. I bet you will be surprised how you don’t even miss the money you are socking away. That tiny savings rate can grow over time into something substantial.

So next time you line up behind a Luo woman at the atm machine and she is shuffling her bag for ages, checks all the cards balances, prints out all balance slips and advice slips, then returns all the contents into her handbag before drawing cash, please be patient. The Luo woman is doing what some of us have failed to do in a lifetime.

And by the way I don't have to remind you of what they call in Swahili Kibigoni (the savings account at the end of the suka/ leso), or under her sindilia/kijuku. And who was it that asked me why Luo women used to smoke the cigarettes in their mouth and keep the stubs behind the ear lobes for later use. Someone on the blog. Let me jog my memory meanwhile.

Worked Example 2*: Let’s say you just turned 40 and want to become a millionaire by the age of 70.

If you earned 1% net of fees and taxes, you would need to save Kshs 2,383 per month. That is Kshs 28,596 per year.

Assuming a 10% net return, you would only need to save Kshs 442 per month.

Remember these numbers continue to grow the longer you wait. Just starting at 40 versus 22 translates into needing to save nearly six times as much per month. Luo women know that no matter your age, the sooner you get started, the better off you will be. The interesting thing is that no aspect of Luo culture is stopping you from doing that. Have you checked the sort of things grandma sets aside for a rainy day? Did you notice that the leso you bought her is never used while grand pas pair of socks were worn the very day you gave it out?

Luo Women Dont Choose The Wrong Spouse

There are many financial benefits to being married. Choosing the wrong spouse will make your quest to become a millionaire much more difficult. If one spouse is a spender and the other is a saver- the spender tends to win out. When considering a life partner, don’t forget to take into account how you each think about money. I will get to the consistency of marrying the daughter of a teacher in a bit.

Luo women tend to be very choosy about who they marry. This is self-evident. Even the single ladies choose who they have those children with. Remember the slogan during the money men of Nyayo era (Kalang’o ok ter ye ngera).

Luo Men Have Single Purpose In Life

Those who have a purpose or passion in life make it easier on themselves to get up each and every morning. Over the years, I’ve observed that many Luo women are happiest and most successful financial planning actually love what they do. They move through the gears life with an extra spring in their steps.

It may be tempting to pick a job or career path based mostly on the salary, but also consider the quality of life that it will end up providing for you and your loved ones. Follow your passions and dreams and money will follow, as the saying goes.

Luo Culture as impetus to women millionaires

Culture is not just about burial, tero buru, and such rituals. Luo culture is the reason why Luo women are becoming millionaires right in front of our eyes. Luo culture is a lifestyle and whoever departs from it losses focus if not everything unless it is wholesomely replaced by another culture (with new weaknesses). Picking and choosing of cultures is a recipe to disaster. Why else does a westernised Luo woman marry a white man in the temperate but still insist that cows must be bought in ndhoya market for the jamwa to ng’wenyo kuon in the mother in law's house. It is because the Luo woman knows how to be a millionaire.


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