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.

Mount Moroto 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 and home to one of Uganda’s smallest tribes, The So/Tepeth.



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.