Exploration of Food Culture in Kisumu: A Socio-Cultural Perspective

Fredrick Argwenge Odede, Dr. Patrick O. Hayombe, Prof. Stephen G. Agong’


Increasingly food culture in the context of socio-cultural dimension is becoming important for sustainable urban development. In the last four years food festivals have been held in Kisumu attracting several interests both from within and without the City. The Kisumu fish night event of 2013 marked the melting point of food culture in Kisumu. This paper thus explores the noble intention of integrating food culture in Kisumu as a socio-cultural capital for the advancement of City sustainable development agenda. To an agrarian society, life is about food from its production, the processing/preservation up to the consumption or the sharing. People connect to their cultural or ethnic background through similar food patterns.  People from different cultural backgrounds eat different foods leading to the question: Are Luos in Kisumu defined by their own food culture? This study further investigated the mode of production, and storage of food resources, examined food cuisines of the Luo community in Kisumu, and assessed the food habits, practices and beliefs associated with food cuisines, as well as, the nutritional and socio-cultural values of Luo cuisines. The research employed qualitative methods of data collection such as interviews, observation, focused group discussion and photography using purposive and snowball sampling technique. Content analysis was used to draw general universal statements in thematic areas with respect to the research objectives. The study revealed that Luo community in Kisumu has a food culture laced with rich cultural practices, rituals and societal norms that defines them as a distinct cultural identity but interacts with other cultural groups in the metropolitan city of Kisumu. Further, the study confirms that indeed food culture is vital for sustainable development of urban centre granted that Kisumu largely evolved as urban centre for exchange of goods for food.


Cuisine, Cultural Group, Food Culture, Food Habit, Kisumu City, Luo, Social Relation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v6i7.1162


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