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a hand stretched out to catch a falling feather illustrating peace which is the key message of the greeting mulembe in Gishu language of eastern Uganda

Meaning of mulembe in Gishu language

The meaning of mulembe in Gishu language of Uganda is similar to the meaning of mulembe among the Luhya of western Kenya. Learn more

The Gishu people of Uganda take pride in their culture that promotes peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding. Take for instance the Gishu greeting mulembe. In the language of the Gishu people of Mount Elgon in eastern region, Uganda, mulembe means “Hello, I come in peace”.

This meaning isn’t much different from the Luhya of Kenya. A shared language goes to show the close cultural ties between the two communities separated by national boundaries. Indeed, the Bukusu people of Kenya and the Gishu of Uganda are one people – Bamasaba; the people of Masaba, which is what both communities used to call Mt Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border.

Use of mulembe in Gishu language

As the word “Mulembe” is a greeting among the many cultures of eastern Uganda and western Kenya, it can be used in a variety of ways. Some people use it as a way to start a conversation, while others might use it as a way to end a conversation by whishing people peace as you depart.

This means that among the Gishu, mulembe can be used as a form of reconciliation; almost like an apology or even as a trigger word to cool tempers or call for calm in a tense situation. Consequently, mulembe is an expression of goodwill that is used to not only welcome people, but also express trust and brotherhood.

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