Who are the Jopadhola?

Land of Adhola

The Jopadhola which literally means the people of Adhola arrived in Tororo around 16th centuary during the Luo Migration. It is said that two brothers, Adhola and Owiny led a group of Luo people on a migratory trek southwards from Sudan in search of greener pastures. The Adhola-Owiny group was part of the main Luo group that migrated en-mass from Bar-el Gazel, Sudan and settled in different parts of Eastern Africa.

When they arrived in Northern Uganda, they split into several groups and went different ways; Alur and Acholi settled in West Nile and Northern Uganda respectively. The Adhola-Owiny group continued South-Eastwards, and in the end the brothers split, Adhola and his group settled in Tororo, while Owiny led his group to discover their new home along the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Jopadhola are also known as Badama. The word “Badama” originated from their Bantu neighbors the Banyoli who, during clashes and wars with the Jopadhola always heard them scream “widooma”, a Jopadhola war cry meaning “You are in trouble”. Hence, they called them Badama.

Dhopadhola, the language of the Jopadhola is generally intelligible with other Luo languages such as Lango, Acholi, Alur, Kumam, Labwor, and Palwo of Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo, and Dholuo (Jaluo) of Kenya and Tanzania. All these groups are Luo by origin or assimilation. It is important to note that according to many historians, Luo, who by 1000 AD had already become a distinct group in Bar el Ghazel and Eastern Equatorial regions, were close relatives of Dinka, Nuer and Shelluk in South Sudan.

Dhopadhola flavor:

Jafur – a farmer

Jofur – farmers

Jakwoo – a thief

Jokwoo – thieves


People: Jopadhola

Language: Dhopadhola (Southern Luo)

Population: 360,000 (2002 census), 2% of the national population.

Districts: Tororo

Jopadhola National figures:

  • Late Arch Bishop Yonna Okoth – Church of Uganda
  • Charles Oboth Ofumbi, Minister of Internal Affairs 1970s. (Murdered by Amin in 1977)
  • Okoth Ogola, Head of Uganda Police 1981-1985


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here