Clinical studies have identified specific genetic variants in dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD; DPYD gene) as predictors of severe adverse toxicity to the commonly used chemotherapeutic 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); however, these studies have focused on European and European-American populations. Our laboratory recently demonstrated that additional variants in non-European haplotypes are predictive of 5-FU toxicity. The objective of this study was to identify potential risk variants in an understudied East African population relevant to our institution's catchment area. The DPYD protein-coding region was sequenced in 588 individuals of Somali or Kenyan ancestry living in central/southeast Minnesota. Twelve novel nonsynonymous variants were identified, seven of which significantly decreased DPD activity in vitro. The commonly reported toxicity-associated variants, *2A, D949V, and I560S, were not detected in any individuals. Overall, this study demonstrates a critical limitation in our knowledge of pharmacogenetic predictors of 5-FU toxicity, which has been based on clinical studies conducted in populations of limited diversity.