John Tyman's
Cultures in Context Series
Studies of the Maasai, the Luhya, and Nairobi’s Urban Fringe
5. CLOTHING : 030-035

Click for full-screen images

030. This photo of a Luo in full regalia was taken in the 1920s, but living in a more accessible area than the Samburu featured in Part Three, the Luo and the Luhya can rarely if ever today be distinguished by their manner of clothing and decoration. (Copyright the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University.)
031. They do “dress up” for celebrations and festivals, when their gear is displayed alongside that of neighboring tribes, but several of the outfits worn then, though distinctive, look as if they were refashioned by professional designers. (Independence Day in Kakamega)
032.The clothes of the younger dancers seem more “authentic” but traditional forms of dress no longer serve for everyday clothing. Men wear "Western" clothes and women dress in outfits similar to those worn today in almost very town and village in Kenya - in skirts, blouses and head scarves, all of brightly coloured printed cloth. 
033. Most clothing today is actually purchased secondhand in local markets. The sellers purchase (mostly imported) used clothing in bulk in Nairobi, and move it to Kakemega or Luanda by bus (usually on top) or in trucks.
034. Items for sale are then spread out on the ground so customers can make an informed choice ... much as they do in markets worldwide.
035.This is also where women buy the printed lengths of decorative cloth preferred for their skirts (or khangas). 


Text, photos and recordings by John Tyman
Intended for Educational Use Only.
Contact Dr. John Tyman at
for more information regarding licensing.
Photo processing, Web page layout, formatting and hosting by
William Hillman ~ Brandon, Manitoba ~ Canada