Introduction / History
Beginning in the mid-1700's, Suba people began coming from the region just West of Lake Victoria to settle the islands and shores of the northeastern side of the lake. Fishing and boat building have been their traditional occupations. The Suba were also renowned hippo hunters before it was against the law to kill wild animals. Today farming is growing as an occupation, and cattle are kept mainly to provide for the payment of bride price.
Ever since coming to this area the Suba have been overshadowed by other ethnic groups, particularly Luo to the east. The result has been a reliance on others for trade and survival. Intermarriage with the Luo is commonplace, but Luo customs are generally maintained when this happens. European influence, which entered Africa from the east, viewed the Suba as a sub-group of the Luo. This further caused the Suba minority to lose recognition of their distinct culture.
Because the Suba language is very different from other language in the area, it came to be viewed as inferior. Education was introduced in English and Luo, and some Suba people have lost the ability to speak their own language. Christianity too was brought to this area through the Luo people. In recent years the Suba people have developed a strong interest in preserving their culture and language. A vital step in this direction is to make Suba a written language. Suba Scriptures will greatly strengthen the existing church by making the Bible available to the people in the language they understand best.
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