LUGOSI: THE FEISTY LUO WOMAN
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
“Lugosi the much maligned feistiness of a Luo woman’s love has no one known cure- Anonymous.
My point is not pouring petrol into fire. I took time to discuss with several of my blog readers and have displayed parts of the chat that I could not put on the blog without expanding the conversation. As promised I have kept them anonymous as some of these ladies are in complete denial of whether they are ra-lugosi or ra-luswa. They know themselves.
I have been at pains to try to find the equivalent word for Lugosi in English. One thing is clear is that Luos don’t consider tantrums or jealousy or envy anything near to describing Lugosi. They consider the feistiness a word that is described in activities, because feistiness of a Luo woman’s love can be Lugosi (passive) or Luswa (active). And here Luswa is bordering on lelo. As one 70-year lady said, Lugosi en ng’at ma ok kwiny while Luswa to ng’at ma ka kata ikwinye kata ok ikwinye to dhaw oromou.
The translation does not quite capture the meanings being brought out here. One thing is clear is that they are both feistiness of Luo women’s love that is much feared. I will illustrate with two examples.
Case 1: Ugenya Nyasaga
About a year ago I was consulted over a case that at first stunned me. The case involved some a lady from Ugenya Nyasaga. In my chart of Ugenya genealogy Kasaga are classified as sub-clan of the assimilated clans in Ugenya. They are not as populous as Kager or Kapuny. In fact, I think they are the very small clans except they punch above their weight in every sphere be it private sector, public service or third sector.
This Nyasaga lady who was upset that the hubby maintained some lady friends on his social media contacts and went ahead liked some of their postings. So this Nyasaga lady asks the hubby, “I thought you disengaged from these lot after I disapproved of their reputation?” Only that then she calmly hung’ up. This was about 10.00 in the morning on a week day.
Later the hubby calls to check at about 12.00 O’clock. Just the usual catch-up but no answer to the cell phone. The hubby then calls the office main land line and is told she left for the house that there was something “urgent”. To which the hubby responds to by also rushing home.
Arriving home, he finds the young Nyasaga lady in a state. Apparently after she excused herself from work she arrived home and proceeded to:
· Take off her shoes
· Take off her coat
· Take off her blouse
· Take off her skirt
· Take off her earrings
· Take off every garment on her body
· Take to shower to wash off every bit of make up on her body!
She then sat on the bed and started crying her eyes out and watching the phone as it rang endlessly. She could answer anybody else’s but not her hubby. To make a long story short after half an hour’s discussion the matter was resolved by the hubby deleting the unwanted contacts.
The Nyasaga lady then fixed lunch then went back to the office as if nothing had happened with her usual calmness radiating the office.
I told my friend it is nothing to worry about. Its feisty Luo love called Lugosi.
Case 2: Ugenya Nyager
Then you have others which may be physical but again aimed at the husband. There was this one of Adhis. Adhis’ hubby had just taken what they used to call in Zaire a “second office” or Article 15 in Congo DR or TX (red diplomatic registration) in Tanzania. The second office is usually spoilt with good times. But like all these cases of second office, it is the first office that usually conceives first. And Adhis dutifully conceived again ahead of second office.
So one day when Nyager was coming from the river and almost due for delivery, she met the hubby with second office playing teen love by being escorted to go and fetch water because she was the most exposed for not having conceived. So mollifications from the hubby was never in short supply.
Then she made the mistake of giggling like an adolescent school girl as they passed nyager with the hubby and that ladies and gentlemen is a mistake you don’t make against Nyager Oloro.
It was almost 5, O’clock in the evening but nyager duly walked home with the pale of water and emptied it on the bed of the second office. Went to her house and transferred the cooled water from dapii onto the pale. Then carefully emptied the second pale on to the bed making sure that not a drop is wasted by not being soaked into the beddings. Now nyager was cool as water from dapii. It was second office turn to face ice cold of wet beddings come 9.00 the time of going to bed.
That is feisty love from Nyager Oloro thond munya.
I am not saying there are no such feistiness from other tribes. We know of Swahili and lesso jibes. In fact, other communities claim Luo women are more physical. Once I was discussing this with Baganda lady and she thought Luo girls are just more physical without long drawn out tactics. She then proceeded to illustrate how a Baganda woman would deal with similar cases above.
Take the case of an errant man threatening to take a second office as they call it in Zaire. She said Baganda woman would exhibit the same feistiness but act the opposite. Why? They seem to believe that “give her enough rope and she will commit suicide”.
So the Baganda First office will be in the forefront of encouraging the monkey business. She will even concoct stories like “Ohh Banange, why are you sitting here and she is in early pregnancy. You men are callous. Go and keep her company because that is what I also expect in early pregnancy. Blah blah ….Please I was not brought up that way!” And she will literally frog march the man to go spend enough time at the second office.
Of course she knows that if the man is not scared of the thought of the cost of pregnancy, the sheer familiarity will breed contempt and sooner than later that is a road that ends nowhere. It is feisty alright because the opposite gives the result that does not make it any less. It is the type of opposite propulsion used to send rockets to outer space.
Then again from the same region is the Toro or Musoga. (By the way Museveni and some historians claim all these Uganda tribes are disguised Luos). The Musoga feisty love pushes them into a completely un heard of angle also found among South of the lake or among the South West Africa. Here the feisty nature of the women love is deflected like lightning rod. Legend has it that culturally the Musoga women are tutored never to severe relationships with a former boyfriend or lover. And if they had none they are encouraged to solicit one before accepting a marriage proposal. As soon as she gets married the lover will go into hibernation to be invoked if the hubby in so as starts any monkey business. It is terrorem in a way. All their husbands live in fear of the hidden terrorist. No matter how much it is concealed, rest assured that there is threat hanging over the man.
There was this story of a Uganda Cranes, national team goal keeper was going for a major tournament where President Idi Amin had promised goodies. The First office knew that should Uganda Cranes win then she is finished. So the First office just made sure it came to the attention of the Uganda goalkeeper/ hubby that the First office appears to invoke the hidden terror. In that confusion, the cranes lost the game through the keepers lack of concentration. It is just one of those legends I come across and most of them I am told is true. I cannot name the tournament because that will divulge the goalkeepers name. Anyway the Musogas are very passionate about their hubbies and this is how they ensure that they are protected unlike say the tearful demonstration of Nyasaga of Ugenya.
Not all Luo women have the same level and intensity of Lugosi. The intensity differs and within a Luo clan the passivity or activeness is measured in the degree of lelo.
Generally, Luos have riddles to inform others to be aware of the general tendencies within a clan but I will only deal with Ugenya clans even if the neighbouring clans like Gem Karariw, Alego Kakan to possess legendry feistiness. It is not maligning the clan. It serves the same purpose as a label in a tin of manufactured product. Where it is listed in contents e.g. 1 % sugar; 25 water 8 % preservatives and stabilizers. The riddles are nothing untoward. Here is a sample of beware riddles.
The whole of Ugenya in Luo land are known as producers of home makers. Closely appended to this is their Lugosi and a bit of Luswa in some of the sub clans, not all. As mentioned above Lugosi is passive feistiness while Luswa is active feistiness.
The Kager have a more than scoop of lelo. And they are forthright and confront their issues from the front. Their forthrightness is considered a virtue hence the phrase, “Nyager Oloro tweyo ga Otamba maber” or more aptly “Oloro thond munya ma jachot”
These sort of riddles are meant to be Buyer be aware to a suitor. Actually this attribute of Kager is exhibited even with the men in political and administrative capacity. The Compendium of Kager clan on this blog has more details. The second adage is that “women from Kager have short fuses that easily break”. They walk in a straight narrow road. If you do cross that let heaven help you.
The Buyer be aware line is, “orango ramiero”. the cantankerous Ugenya Siranga ladies. In other words, raising a flare up is not an issue for a Siranga lady just because they have a feisty love. That they can start a fight in an empty room. The virtues jibes have it that nya-Siranga first office can wake up at midnight to complain about the hot or cold corrugated iron sheets just to make sure that the peace in the other office is disturbed at the opportune time.
Ugenya Siranga are the assimilated clans. Like their men they have immense business acumen. A visit to Ugenya genealogy on this blog will give you other attributes of this clan. If their men have a business acumen, then it surely means that they have a qualified feisty love that allows them man to prosper.
Magoya in Ugenya genealogy are assimilated clans. The Magoya riddle that explains the feisty love is “Agoya kom ok wog I ode makata Otuo”. The whole riddle explains the smothering habits of ladies from Magoya. In olden days a polygamist would move from office to office by asking the kids to transfer the man’s stool of authority. Apparently Magoya ladies would not stand for this rotation and would just refuse to release the stool even if she is ‘wearing red lipstick’.
The riddle here was not to malign her but to warn the suitor that she is not compatible with a meek hubby. And if by accident she is partnered with a meek hubby then a carefully chosen third office is necessary to balance the equation. This caution also applies in paring during wife inheritance.
Ancestor Keny is the son of ancestor Holo from where Uholo derives. Uholo is not an assimilated Ugenya clan. He married four wives, one of which is Nyarsaga from which the sub clan emanated. Ladies from Nyasaga clan bear the riddle name “Oore Deg Mo”. In other words, the vegetable dish of Oore is unpalatable until you spice it with ghee. Basically massage her ego, praise her motivate her and she is a perfect wife. This is exactly what rescued my friend above whose wife bolted on social media associations. In other words, motivate them with platitudes and you can do anything and get away with it.
LUO PROFILING AND STATISTICAL METHODS.
These Luo profiling of clans was simple statistics. Out of a cluster of say Alego-Kakan they observe a standard behaviour. Then from that behaviour they determine if the deviation from a typical average behaviour is significant. If that variation is minimal then that becomes an expected behaviour of ladies from that clan- here in Alego-Kakan for example.
As you are aware these profiles were very accurate because people lived in communities and allow me to repeat that, “habitat determines habits”. Also the communities were very closed and conservative because of hostilities from lack of universal policing and civic order. So for one to marry outside the community there was an intermediary or match maker.
The match maker in a Luo clan was the one that matched families even before due diligence at the marriage introduction where compatibility if again examined by both sides of the family.
NONRO Profiling today.
I don’t think Luos are the only group in the world to still believe in profiling and such things like the great man theory. These habits will take long to die down even with a very urban or cosmopolitan Kenya. I see elements of tribal profiling every day and if we have tribal profiling then Luos must also still be practising clan profiling. If not so why is wat so crucial. The first question a parent asks a son is, what is his or her clan whenever a prospective spouse is being zeroed on. Then what follows is an avalanche of prejudices. It is now left to elderly to look for exhibits of standard deviations from the perceived prejudice.
Is it useful or relevant in the modern era? I don’t want to be too pious about these things but Luo nonro clan profiling ensures that you minimise getting lost in a straight road.
How does this apply to modern Christian Luo? I think first and foremost it means that they cannot stand competition with certain professions that will want the man’s time away. For example, within the Luo clan, it had been observed that a daughter of a teacher is a real catch. Certain attributes of the daughter of a teacher support upward career movement. This can also be inferred of Luo feisty Lugosi.
For example, is it a coincidence that a roster of the who is who in Siaya seems to follow Kager women. How about the correlation of Nya Urang’ and successful businessmen in Ugenya? Of course the legends of Nyasaga and how they usually outsmart competitors by extolling the husband with their passive feisty Lugosi needs no elaboration.
In summary I am saying that this Luo profiling may still just be relevant whether one wants to pursue a football career, engineering, aviation or military service.
And I just want to note that it has not escaped me that the existence of matchmakers to match compatibility is still as relevant as when the Luos' practised it. Maybe if we did not abandon matchmaking cooperative economics and African socialism as propounded by the great Tom Mboya would not have died so fast.
Whether online dating can fully replace the traditional Luo profiling of Lugosi, Luswa, Lelo etc is another subject. The late marriages or pure lack of weddings appears to suggest that any other match making apart from the traditional match making is the graveyard of the Luo as a community.
Can dating like Cupid, True Life Partner, Harmony, Elite fully replace the African matchmaker in matters Lugosi and Luswa? I am yet to be convinced.
EXCEPTS of deleted responses
People would want to know the characteristics of a feisty woman. The good, the bad and the ugly. Things like the advantages of having a feisty woman. Their excessiveness in matters love. They'll love you with their whole being, but will also hate you with the same passion. A typical example is Rachel S.
sent 3 December at 21:07
Such women don't have any in between. It's two extreme sides either she loves you or not. It's the best or nothing at all.
sent 3 December at 21:07
Anyway am not feisty.
sent 3 December at 21:07
Actually that behaviour manifests itself when a woman is in love. They may be different people to their colleagues and family members. But there is this other side of them that only their spouses understand. The desire to possess the love of their life either her man or her child. Those are the kind of women who are ready to fight anytime their kid is beaten at the playground. They always protect and surround their object of desire.
They don't want to see anyone near someone they love especially those they perceive as risks. That's why they'll tell their kids not to play with children who can potentially harm them. In short they are like the "mama bear". One good thing though: - their love is unadulterated.
sent 2 December
Mothering is more of nurturing while smothering is more suffocating and suppressing.
sent 2 December
So in Luo there are three types of love: feisty, mothering and smothering
There are three 3types of manifestations of a true Luo man’s love: feisty, mothering and smothering
sent 2 December a
Yes. Three degrees of Luo woman Love