WENDE LUO: This Dholuo hymn book was published by the Anglican Church of Kenya in 2011. The Revised edition was earlier published in 1970 and reprinted in 1972, 1974 by the S.P.C.K. This edition was first published by Uzima Press in 1980 and has since been reprinted fourteen times.
The Luo dialect, Dholuo (pronounced [d?ólúô]) or Nilotic Kavirondo (pejorative colonial term), is the eponymous dialect of the Luo group of Nilotic languages, spoken by about 6 million Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania, who occupy parts of the eastern shore of Lake Victoria and areas to the south. It is used for broadcasts on KBC (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, formerly the Voice of Kenya), Radio Ramogi, Radio Lake Victoria, Radio Lolwe, Dala FM, Radio Osienala as well as newspapers such as Otit Mach, Nam Dar etc. Dholuo is heavily used online in specially dedicated sites as well as in social media.
Dholuo is mutually intelligible with Alur, Lango, Acholi and Adhola of Uganda. Dholuo and the aforementioned Uganda languages are all linguistically related to Luwo, Nuer, Bari, Jur chol of Sudan and Anuak of Ethiopia due to common ethnic origins of the larger Luo peoples who speak Luo languages.
It is estimated that Dholuo has 90% lexical similarity with Lep Alur (Alur), 83% with Lep Achol (Acholi), 81% with Lango, and 93% with Dhopadhola (Adhola). However, these are often counted as separate languages despite common ethnic origins due to linguistic shift occasioned by geographical movement.
The foundations of the Dholuo written language and today's Dholuo literary tradition, as well as the modernization of the Jaluo people in Kenya, began in 1907 with the arrival of a Canadian-born Seventh-day Adventist missionary Arthur Asa Grandville Carscallen, whose missionary work over a period of about 14 years along the eastern shores of Lake Victoria left a legacy. (This applies only to the Luo of Southern Nyanza, which are to the East of Lake Victoria). This legacy continues today through the Obama family of Kenya and the Seventh-day Adventist Church to which the Obamas and many other Jaluo converted in the early part of the 20th century as residents of the region that Carscallen was sent to proselytize. The Obamas of Kenya are relatives of former US president Barack Obama.
From 1906-1921, Carscallen was superintendent of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's British East Africa Mission, and was charged with establishing missionary stations in eastern Kenya near Lake Victoria and proselytizing among the local population. These stations would include Gendia, Wire Hill, Rusinga Island, Kanyadoto, Karung, Kisii (Nyanchwa), and Kamagambo. In 1913, he acquired a small press for the Mission and set up a small printing operation at Gendia in order to publish church materials, but also used it to impact education and literacy in the region.
Over a period of about five years administering to largely Jaluo congregations, Carscallen achieved a mastery of the Dholuo language and is credited with being the first to reduce the language to writing, publishing the Elementary grammar of the Nilotic-Kavirondo language (Dhö Lwo), together with some useful phrases, English-Kavirondo and Kavirondo-English vocabulary, and some exercises with key to the same in 1910. Then, just a little more than two years later, the mission translated portions of the New Testament from English to Dholuo, which were later published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
The grammar textbook Carscallen produced was widely used for many years throughout eastern Kenya, but his authorship of it is largely forgotten. It was later retitled, Dho-Luo for Beginners, and republished in 1936. In addition to the grammar text, Carscallen compiled an extensive dictionary of "Kavirondo" (Dholuo) and English, which is housed at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. Neither of these works has been superseded, only updated, with new revised versions of the linguistic foundation that Carscallen established in 1910.