Samia tribe

Samia speaking people live in Western Kenya and Eastern Uganda. They are composed of several clans and their ancient economic activities include fishing in Lake Victoria and other rivers such as River Sio, crop farming (obulimi), and animal farming (obutuki).[1] The Samia speaking people, as widely known by other tribes, predominantly live in Busia districts (Both in Kenya and Uganda) and speak a dialect similar to the Luhya tribe in Kenya. However, on the Ugandan side there is a slight variation in the dialect spoken by the Samia of Southern Busia on the fringe of Lake Victoria and those of North Busia district closer to Tororo District.[2] The former speak Olusamia while the latter speak Olugwe. The two dialects are difficult to differentiate by non Samia speaking people but easily discernible by the natives.[3]

Samia Bagwe of Uganda

Culture and MusicEdit

Samia speaking people love music which is played in their various ceremonies, which include marriage (Obugole/ Obweya), funeral (amasika), veneration of ancestors (ebikuda mukutu and Enga'nyo), and wrestling (amalengo). Their musical instruments include: (a) A large violin-like wooden instrument called Adungu (b) A drum called Engalabe, covered at one end with the skin of a monitor lizard (c) A flute called Erere and (d) An instrument called Sikudi. The major traditional dances are owaro, ekworo, eboodi and esikudi. The eboodi and ekworo are love dances. Owaro and esikudi are performed when people are happy.[2]


Samia speaking people have a number of clans, each person belongs to the father's clan. You can not marry from your clan or your mothers clan.[1]


Years before modern government, Samia people used to live in villages called Engongo which are separated by valleys and within Engongo they had Engoba. Engoba is many; one is called Olukoba.[4] One needed a ladder-like contraption to access or leave Olukoba but the Olukoba also had specific gates. Up to today, the daily lives of Samia people are dictated by customs and traditions. For instance, a woman who loses her husband should be remarried to a brother of the deceased so that should this widow wish to bear more children, they should resemble their kin.[5][3] Their diet consists of cassava bread made of sorghum or millet, often mixed with fermented cassava also called obusuma. Sometimes white stiff porridge made out of maize flour added.[3] The food is eaten with vegetables, meat, or chicken. The Samia also largely consume gruel, rice and bananas. Samia speaking people are known to be very clever people due to frequent consumption of fresh fish. In fact non Samia speaking people often refer to them as "obusuma ne'ngeni bicha speed" meaning brown stiff porridge and fish roll down the throat very fast.[5]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Naming rituals among the Samia". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  2. ^ a b "The Samia: Straddling two countries but keeping their bond". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  3. ^ a b c KIG, . "The Luhya Tribe: Kenya's Second Largest Ethnic Tribe". Kenya Information Guide (KIG). Retrieved 24 December 2014.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Piot, Charles (September 1998). "Readings in African Popular Culture; Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation". American Anthropologist. 100 (3): 812–813. doi:10.1525/aa.1998.100.3.812. ISSN 0002-7294.
  5. ^ a b John K. Abimanyi, . (21 March 2013). "The Samia: A Tribe Straddling Two Countries But Keeping Their Bond Intact". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 9 December 2014.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Daily Monitor Reporter, . (1 September 2014). "Where Is Aggrey Awori?". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 24 December 2014.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Lubega, Henry (2015-08-06). "Uganda remembers pioneer diplomat Odaka". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  8. ^ TLSUK, . (23 January 2014). "Law Society Urges Uganda To Appoint New Chief Justice". The Law Society of the United Kingdom (TLSUK). Retrieved 9 December 2014.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Okore, Maurice (21 November 2005). "Justice James Ogoola's Profile". New Vision (Kampala). Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. ^ Musisi, Frederic (6 July 2013). "Barbara Nekesa Oundo: Enter Into The 29-Year-Old Minister's World". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  11. ^ AAI (18 June 2013). "Profile of Fred Wabwire-Mangen". The Africa-America Institute (AAI). Retrieved 24 December 2014.

External linksEdit