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LWO not LUO? ROYAL LINEAGE OF THE LWO 850-TO-DATE

Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2011

By Rt. Hon. Prince Wathum Edwin Djalkwiyu (Alur Kingdom)

Allow me send my greetings to all of you great Lwo people out there. I am a Lwo Atyak-’Alur’ (a nick-name rarely associated with) by tribe , a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Kyambogo University- Uganda & a Prime Minister of Alur Kingdom (by birth), which King Nyipir founded in 1390 A.D; King Nyipir a brother to Prince Nyabongo(Labongo)who was his prime minister then and the later a founder of Ker Kwaro Acholi of Uganda today. Iam also an addicted reader of the Lwo history and above all maintainer of the Lwo culture which is my role in the Kingdom. Alur Kingdom is one of the sixth constitutionally recognized Kingdoms in Uganda: Alur, Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, Tooro & Rwenzoruru. The Chiefdoms are:Acholi, Lango, Buruli, Teso, Adhola and Kooki.

However, so many authors have been advancing their theories about the Lwo people in general and majority of them even would bet their precious heads that theirs are Gospel truth of the great Lwo Atyak people. Indeed there are some notable scholars from the West and our own indigenous bright fellows who have done researches on the Lwo people and may be right somewhere and wrong too. You don’t write a history by setelite but through contact with the community with whom there is sharing of a common goal. You can’t complete history of the Lwo with ease since it is a complete nexus. When I read all of them, I get perturbed about the erroneous distortion of historical facts especially by overzealous writers. who should be believed?

All African histories starts first from grounded oral narratives and then transcends to write ups. So who is mandated to tell truth about the Lwo and their historiography? In my wisdom it is the keepers of the Lwo culture:- the Kings, Chiefs, elders and researchers not the post Obama’s election Lwo maniacs who iconise that this great leader is a Lwo and surmise history of his people starts with him. Imagine how many distorted histories of Lwo has been flooded in the social domain. Hope mine is not!! I like the popularization of the Lwo but should be factual. The cultural leaders are the ones so powerful in transmitting traditional facts through oral history and sometimes textual sourses and not piecing up materials from internet albeit remote from the authentic Lwo people embeded deep in villages thinking that we shall be convinced.

Every community all over the world have leaders or rulers and their coming or ceasing to exist is very important here. One should ask a question ,why is it that some Lwo ethnic groups have no Kings or Paramount chiefs but clan heads? The answer is that there was a curse by King Ulwo Atyak meant to live with us about anybody grabbing or starting a parallel kingdom and secondly that there is a prevailing respect for the ancestral royal spear head wherever it could be. The Lwo are very good at ancestor worship up to today and fear spirits of the living dead most.The elders know about the curse through oral history and make sure there don’t do the contrary as rulership is concerned. There are reasons for that..and having a ruler or not having is only a content in our oral history that can tell why.

In a nut shell, the Lwo political structure is guided by what we call the ROYAL SPEAR HEAD which is handed down to the right heir of the throne & that is why there is always one holder of the royal spearhead. The leadership structure should be as follows: King (Ubumu), Paramount Chief/chief elder of elders (rwoth ma dit), Chief (wroth),clan head (jagoo)and family head.

Only the Choope (Palwo) of northern Uganda have been proved without doubt for being naturally gifted in orating the Lwo royal genelogy without distortion because traditionally that was their role. They are the followers of prince Nyangan of the Lwo Atyak before a major separation at Karuma- Uganda which yielded the Kenyan Lwo.

So all is said about Bahrelghazal too but in reality, where did the Lwo settle before Arab invasion of Europe and northern Africa? Proven, the first area of settlement was in Aswan under King Ngur I who started the Nuer Kingdom (Rev. Fr. Crazzolara Paskwale- 1950). His book ‘The Lwo Tradition’ is a must read. Another book to read is by Aiden 1956 on Alur Society. All these writers are renowned anthropologists.

Actually before King Ngur I established himself in Aswan area, oral history has it that the Nuer who yielded the Lwo came from Aran, a place in the Middle, East majorly under King Kwac. The Arabs invaded the Nuer under king Rubanga in around 970 AD and converted many north Africans to Islam. It was King Rubanga, a Nuer then who moved with his people to Wau, Barhelgazal southern Sudan. His son Ulwo Atyak who inherited the throne in about 1010 AD occupied the entire region. This is where most writers starts their theories because retrospective histories become flimsy.

In the Lwo royal history, there were two powerful queens; Angom (890-930 AD) and Nyilak 1365-390.

It is also a hidden fact that most Lwo ethnic stock know that their ROYAL SPEAR HEAD is in Uganda and obviously in Alur Kingdom. How it changed course to them is so dubious.It was actually to be for prince Rukidi who ran to Bunyoro in fear of his murderous step-brother Kyabambi who became king of the Lwo Atyak by force.

The name Lwo/Luo came from King Uluo Atyak who had many descendants almost allover southern Sudan. When they were again attacked by the Arabs, moved south-eastward to Gondokoro under leadership of King Utike. (The name Okoro from Gondokoro and Atyak from king Ulwo Atyak are henceforth very common to the Lwo spiritual places).

Again the Arabs followed them there, forcing them to dispersed in all direction. This was during the reign of king Cimvor in about 1170-1210 AD. After their defeat by Arabs, Cimvor cursed that no Lwo muslem person in future would be in the throne and hold the royal spear head as King and up to today its being followed. Gondokoro Probably is where the Anuak got a chance to move eastward to Ethiopia because of Arab invasion. Others went back via Wau to Central Africa, Cameroon and probably to Nigeria.

Like in Kenya, the Lwo in Nigeria are said to have also maintained their culture, esp. naming that starts with letter ‘O’ (further research is needed). The first King to arrive in northern Uganda was Atira who for the first time encountered a bush of vegetation. He liked what he saw and his followers named the place Bunga-Atira (THE BUSH OF ATIRA) which is in Acholiland today. So far, three Lwo kings were buried there: Atira- 1250, Chuwa-1290 (influenced the banyoro and Baganda most)and Ulei- 1332 AD.

The second last king of the Lwo Atyak people was Kyabambi Ulum 1332-1390. He grabbed the royal spear head by force from his step brother Rikiidi whose mother was a munyoro. His father king Ulei had the following sons who ran away with followers from Kyabambi; prince Ukumu who led the Kumam,prince Owiny Ramogi started the Kenyan Lwo, prince Onongor Adhola of Jupadhola, prince Kadhirondi (sold as a slave to a TZ master) of the now Kavirondo and Rukiidi whose daughter Nyathwol married Kyomya of a Bunyoro clan. Few historians know this is where history of the Lwo disintergration took place around Karuma falls. King Kyabambi killed most of his brothers and the Lwo kingdom disintergrated but not with the royal spear head. After King Kyabambi came his daughter princess Nyilak 1365-1390. She gave birth to triplets: Nyipir, Nyabongo (Labongo)and Thiful.

After the separation at Pakwach Nyabongo went and formed the Acholi chiefdom, Nyipir crossed the Nile westward and with the Lwo royal spearhead handed to him by his mother Queen Nyilak formed the Alur Kingdom and Prince Thiful went towards Arua (terego) and crossed to Congo. His descendants are the Nyiganda and Angal. The Junam are also descendants of Kyabambi (Kwonga & chuwa) who went and settled in Bunyoroland. They were repelled by the Bunyoro-Bacwezi revolution against the Lwo in 17th century. Many of them crossed to DRCongo and got assimilated by the Alur of Nyipir, for example the Mukambu, Jukoth etc. West Nile region of became part of Uganda in 1914. I find the history of the Kenyan Lwo being very accurate except that mention of which clan is the leader of all the mentioned. There should be a leading royal clan among the Jalwos.

This is my brief Lwo history of the royal lineage that readers may not know. Had it not been because of King Kyabambi, the Lwo today would be having an Empire like that of West Africa not a Kingdom. This is a non contestable fact.

The lineage goes as follows:

-King Ngur I: Aswan Egypt- 850-890
-Queen Angom: Aswan Egypt -890-930
-King Ngur II: Aswan Egypt -930-970
King Rubanga:
Wau -970-1010
King Ulwo Atyak :
Wau -1010-1050
King Komrach:
Wau -1050-1090
NUER KINGDOM ENDED HERE

King Utike:
Gondokoro-1090-1130
King Alu: = Gondokoro-1130-1170
King Cimvor: = Gondokoro-1170-1210
King Atira:
Patiko -1210-1250
King Chuwa:
Patiko -1250-1290
King Ulei:
Pajau -1290-1330
King Kyabambi:
Pajau -1330-1370
Queen Nyilak:
Pajule -1365- 1390
END OF LWO ATYAK

kING Nyipir: Locjudongo-1390-1490
kING OmyerAmor:
Locjudongo-1490-1510
King Okwir: Locjudongo-1510-1550
King Ngira I: Locjudongo-1550-1590
King OmyerDhyang: Nebbi 1590-1630
King Ngira II:
Atyak 1630-1670
King Keeno:
Mahagi(DRC) 1670-1700
King Awaza:
Padea(DRC)1700-1705
King Songa:
Atyak 1705-1735
King Ucweda:
Atyak 1735-1775
King Oledhire:
Atyak 1775-1780
King Aryem:
Atyak 1780-1720
King Ogena: Owilo (DRC) 1820- 1825
King Nziri: Atyak 1825-1865
King Alworonga:
Agyermac 1865-1890
King Amula: Atyak 1890-1941
King Jalusiga: Atyak 1941-1978
King Jobi Valente: Atyak 1978-2000
King Philip Olarker: Current 2000

ALUR KINGDOM CURRENTLY

END

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5 Responses to “LWO not LUO? ROYAL LINEAGE OF THE LWO 850-TO-DATE”

  1. Peter Umar-rwoth Umika said

    I am impressed by the history of Luo kingdom. It places Luo on world map & bridges its many tribes’ social distance.

    Like this

  2. odongo makoloo said

    hey guys thanks for the insightful information, this has actually revealed me to myself! I didn’t know there are luo or luo descendants in Ethiopia, DRC and even Sudan!
    Am actually a Tanzanian luo, I’d like to know why there’s a difference in lexicon between the luo of south nyanza e.g Jokamagambo, Jokanyada and those of central nyanza such as Joalego and Jougenya? For instance dhot-thigo, puodho-ndalo et al.
    Someone Pliz help a brother. Thanx

    Like this

  3. Wathum Edwin Djalkwiyu said

    Hello bro Mayamba,
    thank you for the appreciation of some of the unknown Lwo history from our side Uganda.To know more about the Alur Lwos and their ‘JOK’ construct, please read on the net a book by Aidan William Southall (1953): The Alur Society.

    The word ‘Jok’ according to the Alur tribe has many meanings. For example, Jok may mean a powerful ancestor spirit regarded as keeper of a clan/home/tribe or it may be witchcraft/ wizardry or a demi god per se. Amongst the Alur in which I am, we don’t have a clan termed ‘Jok’ because we are the holder of the greater Lwo royal spearhead. Aware of the word though, we therefore have only three major clans such as the royal clan, the pages clan, & the slave clan (has now ceased with time and space). Instead, Jok is associated to names or sacred places or objects or witchcraft behaviors. The royal tombs,sacred sites, rivers,trees, rocks, etc. where miracles were and are believed to have happened are also called jok or Wang-jok.
    I guess, the Jok clan of Kenya might have come directly from the supreme royal clan of the greater Lwo lineage and espcially during the migration at Karuma- Uganda when king Kiabambi was killing his brothers because of a throne. Amongst the Lwo,not all people are equal- even today; there are social hierachies which are highly accepted by all. Once you are borned in a lesser clan, that’s it & vice versa. Therefore, the Jok as we relate to it interms of animism, is of a royal attachment or signification. The context of jok in witcraft is a different application & the practioner is termed ‘ja-jok’. Remember brother, this word ‘jok’ is highly used by all the Lwo people but the context under which it is applied, creates these diversions.
    Jok word is also used in Sudan,DR.Congo, Ethiopia & some part of Central African Rep. a Lwo diaspora.

    Thank you.

    Rt.Hon.Wathum E.

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  4. Wathum Edwin Djalkwiyu said

    Hello! fellow brothers and sisters, please get access to these books if you can & know more about some of the Lwo(Luo or Lwo terminologies are actually synonymous via meaning- in Uganda we prefer the latter)people;

    Crazzolara, J. P. (1950, 1951, 1954). The Lwoo. Part 1, 59-66; Part 2, 179-222; Part 3, 401-447. Verona: Editrice Nigrizia.

    Quix, J. P. (1939). “Au pays de Mahagi.” Congo 1(3): 276-294; 1(4): 387-411.

    Southall, Aidan (1954). “Alur Tradition and Its Historical Significance.” Uganda Journal 18(2): 137-165.

    Southall, Aidan (1956). Alur Society: A Study in Processes and Types of Domination. Cambridge: Heffer. Reprint. 1972. Nairobi: Oxford University Press.

    Southall, Aidan (1958). “Oedipus in Alur Folklore.” Uganda Journal 22(2): 167-169. Reprinted in Oedipus: A Folklore Casebook, edited by Lowell Edmunds and Alan Dundes, 35-39. New York: Garland.

    Southall, Aidan (1960). “Alur Homicide and Suicide.” In African Homicide and Suicide, edited by Paul Bohannan, 214-229. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

    Southall, Aidan (1969). “Spirit Mediumship Cults among the Alur.” In Spirit Mediumship and Society in Africa, edited by John Beattie and John Middleton, 232—272. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Southall, Aidan (1970). “Incorporation among the Alur.” In From Tribe to Nation in Africa, edited by John Middleton and Ronald Cohen, 71-92. Scranton, Pa.: Chandler Publishing Co.

    Southall, Aidan (1985). “The Partition of the Alur.” In Partitioned Africans, edited by A. I. Asiwaju, 87-103. Lagos: University of Lagos Press.

    Vanneste, M. (1949). “Legenden, Geschiedenis en Gebruiken van een Nilotisch Volk.” Institut Royal Colonial Belge, Mémoires 18, fasc. 1.

    Vanneste, M. (1953). “Sprookjes van een Nilotisch Volk, Alur-Teksten (Mahagi, Belgisch Congo).” Institut Royal Colonial Belge, Mémoires 254, fasc. 3.

    Go to google search engine & look for a book by Aidan William Southall about the Alur Society, read and enjoy some of the commonalities we share yet geographically wide a part.

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  5. Mayamba Ywaya said

    Thanks so much for that enlightening history. I am a Kenyan Luo of the “JOK” clan believed to be the first to migrate into Kenya followed by ‘JOKOWINY” Where are the JOK clan in your history?

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