• Stephen Osieyo

WHAT IS IN A LUO NAME?

Updated: Jul 9, 2020


(This is a true family history passed along by oral literature and corroborated by taught history and recorded literature)


The victim of an Islamic terrorist attack in Westlands Nairobi James Oduor Cobra was named after his father, ex-senior chief John Radido of Ugenya.


This is an oral literature of the bloody war between the people of Ugenya and the slave traders plying the evil captive business along East Ugenya over 200 years ago, supported by the notorious slave trader Nabongo Mumia.


Radido I of Masiro died in combat at Orego, (present day Mumias), in hot pursuit of enemies dressed in head gear and garbs just like the ones who killed Oduor. The enemies had just attacked at meal time, setting homes in Ligega (bonfire) to cause confusion just like the killers of Cobra. They had used insiders to gain access to a Gunda-Ukwala-like perimeter just like the killers of Oduor. Defying invaders interested in taking life, just like the ones Cobra faced, the Ugenya people engaged them in many raids. With cowardly blow from invaders with deadly foreign weapons just like Cobras slayers they caused untold suffering burning homes in retreat.


The Ugenya combined forces battled the raiders and beat them back. At Orego (Mumias) as they chased the retreating foreign invaders in hot pursuit a cowardly spear was sent at Radido I of the Ugenya-Masiro sub clan and his side kick Osieyo I of the Umira Kager clan. The spear fatally hit his flesh at mortal organs rapturing main arteries. Osieyo I – who my father is named after – paused to cover him with the buffalo shield. In that pause the cowardly slavers got away.


The Umira Kager clansman warrior watched helplessly as life ebbed away from Radido I. He knew this was mortal. He knelt down to hold his head and shower him with praise to go and meet his departed ancestors. Chocking, with blood flowing, Radido I opened his eyes, looked at the eyes of Osieyo I and said "wuod Umira an atho, to dhi mondo ichaka. Kara kik lal". (Son of Umira, I am dying but go and name me so that I can be succeeded). In those few words he passed himself to the next life.


And it came to pass that Osieyo I sired a boy with his second wife Nyamde. He named the boy Radido II. As ancient Luos were warriors, young Radido II and his brother Odundo were killed in another tour of duty before they married. It was now a collective responsibility of the Osieyos to name Radido and make sure that the covenant lived. Another Radido III was sired out of younger wives.


Osieyo I also sired another son Omuga and Omuga begot Othieno who begot Osieyo II, my father. Omuga also sired a girl named Aluoch. And so it came to pass that Miss Aluoch Omuga, granddaughter of Osieyo I, was married into the ruling Odipo ka Okwako family. Aluoch Omuga begot Muganda ka Okwako who succeeded chief Odipo (who had drowned). Othieno Omuga brother of Aluoch Omuga hand held Muganda in Regency. Muganda ka Okwako sired a son and named him Radido IV.


And so it came to pass that Radido IV ascended to the throne to succeed Muganda as senior chief. Senior Chief Radido IV begot Fredrick Ochieng (Dock) who begot a son Radido V who he named after his father, from the original chain of Radido I who was slain by Islamic slave traders from the east 200 years ago.


This very Radido V – son of Fredrick Dock, son of Radido IV, son of Muganda Okwako – who soccer fans refer to as James Oduor travelled 200 years in time from Radido I at Mumias who he named after his father, the original chain of Radido

Q. So what is in a Luo name?


A. A lot


  • For a start, powerful spirituality (juogi) that defy time and distance

  • Premonition (sinohonoho)

  • Deja Vue (tipo)

  • Tidings (gweth / lemo)

  • Fate (kiragi)

  • Character (kido)

  • Mannerisms (timbe)

  • Vendetta (hambramoni)

  • Orally recorded literature like genealogy, history (nonro/nondi)


B. A Luo name is like the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations.


BER KA ICHAKO NYATHINI NYINGE MA ING'EYO KOMA OWUOKYE.

References

· Excerpts on slave trade references from detailed writings Islams Black Slaves by Ronald Segal;

· Deputy Headmaster J Onyango and Mr. Hirst of Homa Bay High School History class; · Blogger Odhiambo Levin Opiyo, Historical posting on Umira Kager, and Alphayo Odongo Mango;

· Blogger Thoth Tao;

· Oral gaga by auntie late Omuga Hawal, Auntie Margaret Omuga Nyadande, uncle Z. Omuga Othieno, Nyar Nanda K'Odame, Anyango nya Samuel, Phillip Rang'enga Ombanyo, cousin Agnes Omuga Lore, Ouma Nyawallo


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