Tepeth people

Tepeth / So

Tepeth / Tepes / So

The Tepeth have only been reported in Uganda

The So / Tepeth are thought to be the original inhabitants of the Karamoja planes. They were hungers and gatherers by tradition, but were forced to abounded this way of life in exchange of agro-pastoralism due to the declining of wild life population in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Tepeth, are a tribe in North-eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mount Moroto that is the highest mountain in the Karamoja region of north east Uganda and located against the border of Kenya’s Turkana region. The mountain is an extinct volcano.

Tepeth / So people Map

The So are pastoral people but also do agriculture. They keep livestock mainly short horned cattle, and farm sorghum, maize, and beans. Their staple food is Sorghum and Maize.



Soo or So is the Kuliak language of the Tepes people of northeastern Uganda. The language is moribund, with most of the population of 5,000 having shifted to Karamojong, and only a few dozen elderly individuals are still able to speak Soo. Soo is divided into three major dialects: Tepes, Kadam (Katam), and Napak (Yog Toŋi).

There are between 3,000 and 10,000 ethnic Soo people (Carlin 1993). They were historically hunter-gatherers, but have recently shifted to pastoralism and subsistence farming like their Nilotic and Bantu neighbors. Beer (2009: 2) found that most So villages have only one speaker remaining. Thus, the speakers rarely have a chance to active use the Soo language.



The So dance involves men and women making a series of short veticle jumps made without the feet leaving the ground. These jumps are accompanied by whistling and shouts made by the dancers. In the dance, men and women are organized in separate horizontal lines facing each other so that one men are directly facing women. The women eventually turn around and face the same direction as men.
The So are known for their hair cut which leaves horizontal lines of hair in the middle of the head.