Adhola people

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Person Japadhola
People Jopadhola
Language Dhopadhola
Country Padhola

The Adhola people, also known as Jopadhola or Badama, are an ethnic group of Uganda. They live Tororo District in southeastern Uganda and comprise about two percent of the country's total population. They speak Dhopadhola (a Luo language), which belongs to the Western Nilotic branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family. They are primarily pastoralists. Badama is a synonym for Jopadhola used by their Bantu neighbours, because Jopadhola occupy an area in Tororo district commonly known as Budama.


Main article: Luo peoples

The Jopadhola arrived in southeastern Uganda in the 16th century during the Luo migration from southern Sudan. They first settled in central Uganda, but gradually moved southwards and eastwards. Their kin who settled northern and central Uganda are Acholi and Alur populations, who speak languages similar to Dhopadhola. They settled in a forested area as a defence against attacks from Bantu neighbours who had already settled there. Unlike some other small Luo tribes, this self-imposed isolation helped them to maintain their language and culture amidst Bantu and Ateker communities.

Those Luo who proceeded their migration eastwards into present day Kenya and Tanzania are the JoLuo (commonly referred to only as Luo).

Legend has it that Owiny, the leader of the Kenyan Luo was the brother of Adhola the leader of the Jopadhola who decided to settle in Tororo instead of going along with his brother towards Kenya and Tanzania.


Main article: Dhopadhola

Jopadhola speak a language which is mutually intelligible with Acholi language, Lango language, Alur language of Uganda and Dholuo language of Kenya. They call their language Dhopadhola. The prefix dho means "language of" and jo means "people of". The infix pa means possessive 'of' - hence Jopadhola means people of Adhola, and Dhopadhola the language of the Jopadhola.


  • Oboth-Ofumbi, A.C.K. Padhola, East African Literature Bureau, Nairobi, 1959
  • Ogot, B.A. History of the southern Luo, East African Publishing House, Nairobi, 1967