Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
The Luo (Jaluo and Joluo) are an important ethnic group in Kenya, eastern Uganda, and northern Tanzania. They were once called Nilotic Kavirondo. However, the people refer to themselves as Luo. They are the third largest ethnic group in Kenya, after the Kikuyu and the Luhya. The Luo constitute about 11% of the population, compared with 22% by the Kikuyu and 14% by the Luhya. The total population of the Luo approaches 5 million. This entry looks at their history and religious beliefs. The Luo have a long history as pastoralists, but they have become agriculturalists who maintain large cattle herds. They are found in many of the large cities of Eastern Africa as urban workers. They speak the Dholuo language, which is similar to Lango, Acholi, Padhola, and Alur spoken in Uganda. This cluster of languages means that the Luo have close relations with other ethnic groups that share ...