Luyia is a term that refers to an ethnic group residing in Western Kenya, primarily in the provinces of Bungoma, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, and parts of Nandi and Kisumu. The Luyia community is one of Kenya's major ethnic groups, with a population estimated to be around 16% of the country's total population.
The Luyia people have a rich cultural heritage, characterized by their unique language, customs, and traditions. They speak a Bantu language known as Luyia or Luhya, which has several dialects spoken by different subgroups within the community. The Luhya language belongs to the Niger-Congo language family and is closely related to other Bantu languages spoken in East Africa.
The Luyia people are traditionally agriculturalists, known for their expertise in farming and cattle rearing. They cultivate a variety of crops, including maize, millet, sorghum, beans, and sweet potatoes, and also rear livestock such as cattle, goats, and chickens. However, due to modernization and urbanization, many Luyia people have diversified their livelihoods to include other professions such as business, education, politics, and entrepreneurship.
The traditional social structure of the Luyia community is organized into clans or sub-tribes, each with its own distinct customs and ceremonies. Social cohesion and community values are highly valued among the Luyia people, with a strong emphasis on extended family ties and communal solidarity.
In recent times, the Luyia community has played a significant role in Kenya's social, political, and cultural landscape. Many individuals from this community have held prominent positions in the government, public service, and other sectors, contributing to the country's socio-economic development.
The word "Luyia" refers to an ethnic group in Kenya. The etymology of the word is not entirely clear. It is believed to have originated from the word "Wanga", which refers to a Luyia sub-tribe. Over time, the word "Wanga" has been modified to "Luyia" to encompass the entire ethnic group. However, the exact origin and meaning of the word "Wanga" or "Luyia" are not fully understood.