Tachoni tribe (Luhya)

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The Tachoni are a Luhya tribe of Western Kenya, sharing land with the Bukusu tribe. They live mainly in Webuye, Chetambe Hills, Ndivisi - of the newly created Bungoma East district - and Lugari District in the former larger Kakamega DistrictKakamega District. Most Tachoni clans living in Bungoma speak the 'Lubukusu' dialect of the Luhya language making them get mistaken as Bukusus. They spread to Trans Nzoia District especially around Kitale, Mumias and Busia. The tribe is rich in beliefs and taboos. The most elaborate cultural practice they have is circumcision.

Circumcision[edit]

The Tachoni practice circumcision in August of every even year (2006, 2008, 2010, etc.). When the boys are circumcised they only go to hunt in the village's forest for birds, guineafowl (likhanga) so in the evening they come home and the meal is prepared for them. Most meals for initiates have to be rich in proteins (to replace blood lost during the circumcision) and a staple-food in the whole of Kenya known as Ugali which is called 'Obusuma' in Tachoni.

The circumcised boys are not allowed to wear pants so they tie clothing called lesos or Khanga and they hunt all day in forests. They paint their faces with white clay from the river. Circumcised boys don't wash their body for one month nor do they do menial work.

The Tachoni tribe believe in 'okhulicha' (the training of initiates in adult roles before they pass out as adults). The boys are taken to 'Esitabicha' where they are taught before they pass out as adult members of the community. They are told secrets of the community which they are not supposed to reveal to anyone. All this is done by elderly members of the Tachoni community who should have themselves undergone the same ritual. Similarly, they are taught Tachoni beliefs, philosophy, values and practices.

Among the Tachoni clans are: Abakobolo, Abamuongo, Abamarakalu, Abangachi, Abasang'alo, Abasamo, Abayumbu (mostly around Webuye), Abamuchembi, Abachambai, Abacharia, Abakabini, Abamakhuli, Abasioya, Abaabichu, Abamachina, Abamutama, Abakafusi, Abasonge, Abasaniaka, Abaabiya, Abachimuluku. Note that the morpheme 'aba' means 'people'.

What distinguishes the Tachoni from the Bukusu is circumcision. They practice it quite differently from the Bukusu. For instance, during circumcision, Tachoni boys will face towards the East as they are 'cut' (circumcised) whereas Bukusu boys face the West. Linguistically, the two tribes understand each other quite well though a Bukusu will find it hard to speak 'Olutachoni' well. The Tachoni, on the other hand can learn, understand and speak all the Luhya dialects with ease.

Tachoni economy[edit]

The Tachoni practice farming as well as rearing of cattle. A few engage in businesses.

Politics[edit]

The most senior politicians among the Tachoni currently are Alfred Wekesa Sambu of Webuye and Noah Mahalang'ang'a Wekesa of Trans Nzoia, Nabii Nabwera{Kakamega county}, Those ones who have died includes Johnstone Welangai,former Malava large constituency and former high commissioner of Kenya to Uganda,

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Demmahom, Olovodes Lihraw (2010). The Tachon peoples of Kenya: history, culture and economy. Nairobi: PERC-PACE International. ISBN 9789966967015.