I HAVE A DREAM: Edwine Amisi Talks About His Late Dad And The Suba Culture

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A copy of Amisi's Book "I HAVE A DREAM"

Scratch a layer of our skin and you find Culture ,life and Love.We all get back to the Village at one moment and we can all agree that it is in the Village we can Find peace unconditionally not to mention the good meals,smiley faces and Loving parents. Today,Amisi Edwine takes us on a Journey back to his Village in Suba.In His own Words, Amisi Talks about his culture deeply and even opens up on his Late dad.All these You can read in his New Book “I have a dream” .

“In the year 2002, this happened to me. When my dear father died, I started to understand all those people who lost someone they loved. There are perhaps no proper words to describe this pain, at least none used on this planet. The intolerable pain that tears you apart, which is like a stone on your heart, which make tears roll down your face with each recollection of the deceased. Time is unlikely to alleviate this hurt, no matter what others claim. My father was born and raised in a small village in Mfangano Island. He came from Suba tribe. Suba are descendants of one wave of the Bantu migration from Central Africa over the last 1500 to 1800 years.

The Suba people live on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and Tanzania. Beginning in the mid-1700s, Suba people began coming from the region just west of Lake Victoria to settle the islands and shores of the northeastern side of the lake. They settled on Mfangano Island and Rusinga Island. Fishing and boat-building have been their traditional occupations. The Suba were also renowned hippo hunters before it was against the law to kill wild animals. Today farming is growing as an occupation and cattle are kept mainly to provide for the payment of bride price.

About the same time, the Nilotic Luo were also moving along the shores of the lake from the north. Moving gradually south, the Luo effectively established a settlement barrier separating the Suba from the earlier Bantu settlers, gradually absorbing some, and fostering a cultural assimilation. As the Luo people became numerous and dominant in the eastern shores of Lake Victoria, my ancestors were heavily influenced and many became associated or assimilated to the Luo culture.

The part of the Suba people who now speak Luo as a mother tongue are also called Luo-Abasuba. (“Abasuba” is the Suba language word for “the Suba people.”). Intermarriage with the Luo is commonplace, but Luo customs are generally maintained when this happens.We have been overlooked in both colonial and independent Kenya. The British government assumed our ancestors to be part of the Luo people, partly because of their partial assimilation in language and culture. In 1995, the Suba people were awarded a singular recognition when Kenya President Daniel Arap Moi established Suba district, allowing an ethnic Suba representation in the national parliament. The fewer Suba in Tanzania have been more eclipsed and lack a political identity.

These are the customs of my people. The Suba people engage in fishing, farming, boatbuilding and minor commerce of fish and farm products. They supply boats and fish to their neighbors. We get along well with neighbors. There is considerable intermarriage with Luos.

The elders lead extended families. Elders have total authority. A primary elder who is highly respected is informally appointed. His authority may be passed on if his son is also highly respected. The extended family forms the primary social group. The living area of the family is made up of many houses depending on how many wives and children are in the family.

Grandmothers play an important role in child rearing by providing most of the socialization experiences and training for the children. Girls do the cooking, collect and carry firewood and fetch water, while boys do the fishing, herding and working in the fields. The clan elders make decisions regarding violations of cultural norms. Payment to the offended party may be required. Banishment from the group or corporal punishment may also be employed.

Harvest time is celebrated with dancing and beer drinking. Social occasions are held periodically where beer drinking and dancing is enjoyed. Wrestling and a board game called “Oluko” are popular. Funerals are occasions for much social interactions. Suba art forms include, pottery, baskets, mats and carved designs on furniture. Wall and floor designs are popular.

One of the problems that faces the Suba people is lack of money to attend school as employment opportunities are limited. This brings about education, employment and capital to start fishing industries as one of their greatest needs.”

You can order a copy of Edwine Amisi’s Book “I have a dream ” by sending a mail to koyocalleb@gmail.com or @edwineamisi@gmail.com . Do Follow us on all our socials @Magazinereel and @KoyoOdongo For Exclusive stories happening around You.

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