KAVIRONDO , a
See also:people of
See also:British East Africa, who dwell in the valley of the Nzoia
See also:River, on the western slopes of
See also:Elgon, and along the
See also:coast of
See also:Victoria Nyanza . Kavirondo is the general name of two distinct groups of tribes, one
See also:Bantu and the other Nilotic . Both groups are immigrants, the Bantu from the south, the Nilotic from the north . The Bantu appear to have been the first comers . The Nilotic tribes, probably an offshoot of the
See also:Acholi (q.v.), appear to have crossed the lake to reach their
See also:present home, the
See also:country around Kavirondo Gulf . Of the two groups the Bantu now occupy a more northerly position than their neighbours, and " are practically the most northerly representatives of that
See also:race (Hobley) . Their further progress north was stopped by the southward
See also:movement of the Nilotic tribes, while the Nilotic Kavirondo in their turn had their wanderings arrested by an irruption of Elgumi people from the east . The Elgumi are themselves probably of Nilotic origin . Both groups of Kavirondo are physically
See also:fine, the Nilotic stock appearing more virile than the Bantu . The Bantu Kavirondo are divided into three
See also:principal types—the Awa-Rimi, the Awa-
See also:Ware and the Awa-Kisii . By the Nilotic Kavirondo their Bantu neighbours are known as Ja-Mwa . The generic name for the Nilotic tribes is Ja-Luo .
The Bantu Kavirondo
See also:call them Awa-Nyoro . The two groups have many characteristics in
See also:common . A characteristic feature of the people is their nakedness . Among the Nilotic Kavirondo married men who are fathers
See also:wear a small piece of
See also:goat-skin, which though practically useless as a covering must be worn according to tribal
See also:etiquette . Even among men who have adopted
See also:European clothing this goat-skin must still be worn underneath . Contact with whites has led to the adoption of European clothing by numbers of the men, but the
See also:women, more conservative, prefer nudity or the scanty covering which they wore before the advent of Europeans . Among the Bantu Kavirondo married women wear a
See also:short fringe of black
See also:string in front and a tassel of
See also:banana fibre suspended from a
See also:girdle behind, this tassel having at a distance the appearance of a tail . Hence the
See also:report of early travellers as to a tailed race in Africa . The Nilotic Kavirondo women wear the tail, but dispense with the fringe in front . For "
See also:dandy " they wear a goat-skin slung over the shoulders . Some of the Bantu tribes practise circumcision, the Nilotic tribes do not . Patterns are tattooed on chest and stomach for
See also:ornament .
Men, even husbands, are forbidden to
See also:touch the women's tails, which must be worn even should any other clothing be wrapped
See also:round the
See also:body . The Kavirondo are noted for their
See also:independent and pugnacious nature, their honesty and their sexual morality, traits particularly marked among the Bantu tribes . There are more women than men, and thus the Kavirondo are naturally inclined towards polygamy . Among the Bantu tribes a man has the refusal of all the younger sisters of his wife as they attain puberty . Practically no woman lives unmarried all her
See also:life, for if no suitor seeks her, she singles out a man and offers herself to him at a " reduced price," an offer usually accepted, as the women are excellent agricultural labourers . The Nilotic Kavirondo incline to exogamy, endeavouring always to marry outside their
See also:clan . Girls are betrothed at six or seven, and the
See also:husband-elect continually makes small presents to his fatherin-
See also:law-elect till the
See also:bride reaches womanhood . It is regarded as shameful if the girl be not found a virgin on her
See also:day . She is sent back to her parents, who have to return the
See also:marriage price, and pay a fine . The wife's
See also:adultery was formerly punished with
See also:death, and the capital
See also:penalty was also inflicted on
See also:young men and girls guilty of unchastity . Among the Bantu Kavirondo the usual minimum price for a wife is
See also:forty hoes, twenty goats and one cow, paid in instalments . The Nilotic Kavirondo pay twenty
See also:sheep and two to six cows; the husband-elect can claim his bride when he has made
See also:half payment .
If a woman
See also:dies without bearing
See also:children, the amount of her
See also:purchase is returnable by her
See also:father, unless the widower consents to replace her by another
See also:sister . The women are prolific and the
See also:birth of twins is common . This is considered a lucky event, and is celebrated by feasting and dances . Among the Bantu Kavirondo the
See also:mother of twins must remain in her hut for seven days . Among the Nilotic Kavirondo the parents and the infants must stay in the hut for a whole
See also:month . If a Bantu mother has lost two children in succession the next
See also:born is taken out at
See also:dawn and placed on the road, where it is
See also:left till a neighbour, usually a woman friend who has gone that way on purpose, picks it up . She takes it to its mother who gives a goat in return . A somewhat similar
See also:custom prevails among the Nilotic tribes . Names are not male and
See also:female, and a daughter often bears her father's name . The Kavirondo bury their dead . Among one of the Bantu tribes, the Awa-Kisesa, a chief is buried in the
See also:floor of his own hut in a sitting position, but at such a
See also:depth that the
See also:head protrudes . Over the head an earthenware pot is placed, and his principal wives have to remain in the hut till the flesh is eaten by ants or decomposes, when the
See also:skull is removed and buried close to the hut .
See also:skeleton is unearthed, and reburied with much ceremony in the sacred
See also:burial place of the tribe . Married women of the Bantu tribes are buried in their hut lying on their right side with legs doubled up, the hut being then deserted . Among the Nilotic tribes the
See also:grave is dug beneath the
See also:verandah of the hut . Men of the Bantu tribes are buried in an open space in the midst of their huts; in the Nilotic tribes, if the first wife of the deceased be alive he is buried in her hut, if not, beneath the verandah of the hut in which he died . A child is buried near the
See also:door of its mother's hut . A sign of
See also:mourning is a
See also:cord of banana fibre worn round the
See also:neck and
See also:waist . A chief chooses, sometimes years before his death, one of his sons to succeed him, often giving a brass
See also:bracelet as insignia . A man's
See also:property is divided equally among his children . The Kavirondo are essentially an agricultural people: both men and women
See also:work in the
See also:fields with large iron hoes . In addition to
See also:sorghum, Eleusine and
See also:tobacco and
See also:hemp are both cultivated and smoked . Both sexes
See also:smoke, but the use of hemp is restricted to men and unmarried women, as it is thought to injure child-bearing women . Hemp is smoked in a hubble-bubble .
The Kavirondo cultivate sesamum and make an oil from its seeds which they
See also:burn in little
See also:clay lamps . These lamps are of the
See also:ancient saucer type, the
See also:pattern being, in Hobley's opinion, introduced into the country by the coast people . While some tribes live in isolated huts, those in the north have strongly walled villages . The walls are of mud and formerly, among the Nilotic tribes, occasionally of
See also:stone . Since the advent of the British the security of the country has induced the Kavirondo to let the walls fall into disrepair . Their huts are circular with conical thatched roof, and fairly broad verandahallround . A portion of the hut is partitioned off as a sleeping-place for goats, and the fowls sleep indoors in a large
See also:basket . Skins
See also:form the only
See also:bed-steads . In each hut are two fireplaces, about which a rigid etiquette prevails . Strangers or distant relatives are not allowed to pass beyond the first, which is near the door, and is used for cooking . At the second, which is nearly in the
See also:middle of the hut, sit the hut owner, his wives, children,
See also:brothers and sisters . Around this
See also:fire-place the
See also:family sleep .
See also:water pots and earthenware
See also:grain jars are the only other furniture . The
See also:food is served in small baskets . Every full grown man has a hut to himself, and one for each wife . The huts of the Masaba Kavirondo of west Elgon have the
See also:apex of the roof surmounted by a carved
See also:pole which
See also:Sir H . H .
See also:Johnston says is obviously a phallus . Among the Bantu Kavirondo a father does not eat with his sons, nor do brothers eat together . Among the Nilotic tribes father and sons eat together, usually in a
See also:separate hut with open sides . Women eat apart and only after the men have finished . The Kavirondo keep
See also:cattle, sheep, goats, fowls and a few
See also:dogs . Women do not eat sheep, fowls or eggs, and are not allowed to drink milk except when mixed with other things . The flesh of the
See also:wild cat and
See also:leopard is esteemed by most of the tribes .
From Eleusine a
See also:beer is made . The Kavirondo are plucky hunters, capturing the hippopotamus with
See also:ropes and traps, and attacking with spears the largest elephants .
See also:Fish, of which they are very fond, are caught by
See also:line and
See also:rod or in traps . Bee-keeping is common, and where trees are scarce the hives are placed on the roof of the hut . Among the Bantu Kavirondo goats and sheep are suffocated, the snout being held until the animal dies . Though a peaceful people the Kavirondo fight well . Their weapons are spears with rather longflat
See also:blades without
See also:blood-courses, and broad-bladed swords . Some use slings, and most carry
See also:shields . Bows and arrows are also used; firearms are however displacing other weapons . Kavirondo warfare was mainly defensive and intertribal, this last a form of vendetta . When a man had killed his enemy in
See also:battle he shaved his head on his return and he was rubbed with "
See also:medicine " (generally goat's dung), to defend him from the spirit of the dead man . This custom the Awa-Wanga abandoned when they obtained firearms .
The young warriors were made to stab the bodies of their slain enemies . Kavirondo
See also:industries are
See also:salt-making, effected by burning reeds and water-
See also:plants and passing water through the ashes; the smelting of iron ore (confined to the Bantu tribes) ; pottery and basket-work . The Kavirondo have many tribes, divided, Sir H . H . Johnston suspects, totemically . Their religion appears to be a vague ancestor-worship, but the
See also:northern tribes have two gods, Awafwa and Ishishemi, the
See also:spirits of
See also:good and evil . To the former cattle and goats are sacrificed . The Kavirondo have
See also:great faith in divination from the entrails of a sheep . Nearly everybody and everything is to the Kavirondo ominous of good or evil . They have few myths or traditions; the
See also:ant-bear is the chief figure in their beast-legends . They believe in
See also:witchcraft and practise trial by ordeal . As a race the Kavirondo are on the increase .
This is due to their fecundity and morality . Those who live in thelow-lying lands suffer from a mild
See also:malaria, while abroad they are subject to dysentery and
See also:pneumonia . Epidemics of small-pox have occurred . Native medicine is of the simplest . They
See also:dress wounds with
See also:butter and leaves, and for inflammation of the lungs or pleurisy
See also:pierce a hole in the chest . There are no medicine-men—the women are the doctors . Certain of the incisor teeth are pulled out . If a man retains these he will, it is thought, be killed in warfare . Among certain tribes the women also have incisor teeth extracted, otherwise misfortune would befall their husbands . For the same reason the wife scars the skin of her forehead or stomach . A Kavirondo husband, before starting on a perilous
See also:journey, cuts scars on his wife's body to ensure him good
See also:luck . Of dances the Kavirondo have four—the birth dance, the death dance, that at initiation and one of a propitiatory kind in seasons of drought .
See also:music is plaintive and sometimes
See also:pretty, produced by a large
See also:lyre-shaped instrument . They use also various drums . The Ja-Luo women use for ear ornaments small beads attached to pieces of brass . Like the aggry beads of West Africa these beads are not of
See also:local manufacture nor of
See also:recent introduction . They are ancient, in
See also:colour generally blue, occasionally yellow or
See also:green, and are picked up in certain districts after heavy
See also:rain . By the natives they are supposed to come down with the rain . They are identical in shape and colour with ancient
See also:Egyptian beads and other beads obtained from ancient cities in
See also:Baluchistan . See C . W . Hobley, Eastern
See also:Uganda, an Ethnological Survey (Anthrop . Inst., Occasional Papers, No . 1,
See also:London, 1902); Sir H .
H . Johnston, Uganda
See also:Protectorate (1902); J . F .
See also:Cunningham, Uganda and its Peoples (1905) ; Paul Kollmann, The Victoria Nyanza (1899) . (T . A .
KAVASS, or CAVASS (adapted from the Turkish qawwas,...
KAW, or KANSA
I think more research is needed to verify claims, especially in ancient Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom that Kavirondo was part of the empire. It is interesting to know the connotation Awa-Nyoro. What could that mean? Olivia
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