Raila Odinga’s ‘Jowi! Jowi!’ chant explained

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Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday during the State burial of late president Daniel Moi broke into song in his vernacular Luo language.

Mr. Odinga, while concluding his near 10-minute speech, requested for his fly whisk and said he would be sending off Moi like “a true African.”

He then chanted “Yawa, par uru lowo, lowo wang’e tek. Yawa, par uru lowo, lowo wang’e tek. Eeee, wuoyi, gimichamo e mari, gimodong’ to kik igen. Eeee, wuoyi, gimichamo e mari, gimodong’ to kik igen. Jowi! Jowi! Jowi! Jowi! Jowi!”

Which  translates to: “Please, remember the soil, the soil is stubborn. Only consider what you have eaten or what you have, forget about whatever remains or that which you don’t have.”

‘Jowi’ is a term used among the Luo community to mourn the passing on of a fierce warrior or a respected member of society.

The chant, coincidentally, was the same one his late father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga broke into when sending off the first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, following his death in 1978.