KAMAGAMBO PEOPLE OF SOUTH NYANZA | LET’S WALK KENYA
Kamagambo people trace their origin from Trans Mara triangle and are descendants of Kimbaba the son of Thunya. They are a clan of the Girango or Abagirango section of the Luo speakers. The morpheme “aba” also “abanto ba” means “people of”. The present day Rongo District in the South Nyanza Province is mainly inhabited by the Kamagambo clan. The traditions maintain that the Kamagambo ancestors came from Migori River in the Trans Mara triangle, now in Tanzania. And having escaped wars at Sori Bay areas, they settled around what is today known as Mbita Township.
The ancestral father of the Kamagambo clan, Kimbaba, first settled in the Gembe hills with the Kasgunga people but later abandoned the place and migrated to Homa Bay areas. They continued with their journey up to Marindi and from there they went to the present Rongo District. However, another group first sojourned among the Konyango clan in a place called Kabuoch.
In their expansion, the Kamagambo pushed the Gusii to the north and Karachuonyo who in turn pushed back other groups. They also fought with the Konyango clan and Maasai tribesmen. In fact, the Kamagambo drove away the minority Maasai sections whom they found occupying the land. The war was successful for the Kamagambo people because of the magic they used against the enemies. And it is a clear indication that before Europeans came the Kamagambo people were under the leadership of magicians.
The Kamagambo people lived near the Maasai border with the Luo, and therefore, some of them began to speak the Maa dialect. Moreover, a section of them were absorbed into Maasai ethnicity. Those who joined the Maasai became known as Alburugo. Hitherto the Kamagambo people spoke Girango language commonly known today as Kisuba, which is a sister language to Ekegusii and Igikuria languages. In their tradition they maintain that the branch of them that started to speak Luo were those who went to Konyango, and married Jaramogi Luo daughters. And it was due to Jaramogi Luo influence that they later abandoned Girango customs.
In real sense, the Kamagambo are somehow a section of the present Utegi clan since Kaimbaga or Kimbaba son of Thunya, the son of Tegi, is the ancestral father of Kamagambo people. The other sons of Thunya were Marwa and Gogo who founded the present Utegi clan together with the other three sons of Tegi (Sigiria, Sebe and Beri—the brothers of Thunya). Kaimbaga first settled among the Kiseru people where he married his wife Magambo, the sister of Kigunga. Kigunga is the ancestor of the present Kasgunga clan, hence Kamagambo people do not intermarry with the Kasgunga clan of the Kiseru section because they are blood relations.
The Kamagambo clan are comprised of two main sub-clans, namely: the Kanyawanga and the Kamwango. The former are well distributed in all parts of Rongo District, while the latter are mainly based in the settlement of North Rongo. In fact, the Kanyawanga sub-clan which is the largest of the two is composed of various small clans like the Kamtue, Kamreri, Kadhudha, Kawino and Kamsumba who are collectively called Kanyamamba; the Kangeso or Wagesi; and the Kanyandiga (Kongudi, Kongoma, Koluoch, Kabuoro, Kagoro and Kanyadieto). The Kanyandiga people who traditionally live in the West, North and Central Rongo settlements form the majority of Kamagambo people today.