Kwita Izina: Rwanda Gorilla Naming Ceremony

Effigies of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda during the Kwita Izina ceremony

Rwanda Gorilla Naming Ceremony, locally known as ‘Kwita Izina’ is an annual event for allocating names to newly-born baby mountain gorillas in the course of the year. Every year in June, the baby gorillas in the country are given names in a mammoth event at the foot of the Virunga Mountains in a ceremony known as “Kwita Izina”. This event has been part of the local tradition for years. The Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Park (ORTPN) and the entire local community found it relevant to make bigger the much treasured Rwandan tradition of naming every new-born gorilla. In this ceremony, the names endorsed to the gorillas play a large part in the program of monitoring of each individual gorilla and gorilla groups in their habitation. Introduced in 2005, Kwita Izina was to create awareness for safeguarding of mountain Gorillas that are in danger of extinction. The event gets thousands of intercontinental, regional and home visitors to its Virunga mountain ranges. For decades, global conservation organisations, donors and concerned individuals have made considerable resources obtainable to the gorilla conservation cause and continue to do so.

A bigger percentage of revenues from tourism activities at the park go towards maintaining the park and preserving the flora and fauna life. The balance goes to government and about 10% to local projects in the area to boost the well being of the natives.

Rwanda Gorilla Naming CeremonyKwita Izina and the relevancy of its themes Every year, the event is given a well-thought about theme relevant to the conservation, protection and safeguarding of the Endangered Gorillas in Rwanda and the general environment in this country of a thousand hills.

  • The theme of 2005 ceremony was “Ensure the Future of the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda”.
  • In 2006, the theme was “Recognise the Role of the International Tourists who Selected Rwanda as Destination”.
  • In 2007, the theme was “Caring for Wildlife Concerns Us All”.
  • In April 2007, Kwita Izina (to give a name) was unveiled as the new brand name for the Gorilla Naming Ceremony. During the last three ceremonies which were very successful, ORTPN and its special guests named 30, 12 and 23 mountain gorillas, respectively.
  • In 2008: Working together to conserve our Wildlife and 20 gorillas named.
  • The theme for 2009 was “Celebrating the Year of the Gorilla”. During this event, efforts of all those that have contributed to the welfare of Rwanda wildlife and its conservation and give opportunity to everyone to contribute to the sustainability of preservation for Gorillas were recognised. The 2009 ceremony also coincided with the “International Year of the Gorilla,” proclaimed by the United Nations.

Every year, the government gets a theme that is relevant to the conservation and preservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Rwanda, a tiny East African country thrives much on tourism with gorilla trekking taking the lead.

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