The gorilla naming event known as Kwita Izina is unarguably a cultural peculiarity of Rwanda.
This ceremony has gone down in the annals of the country’s history. This year 25 new-born gorillas were given names at the event held in Kinigi, Musanze District.
It is a unique event, which gathers high-ranking government officials, renowned guests from around the world as well as Rwandans from all walks of life.
Ordinarily, the names given depict a flurry of Rwandan core values intimately-linked to culture, identity, home-grown initiative, and other values.
‘Kwita Izita’ event is, equally, an integral part of Rwanda’s tourism, which is closely intertwined with its culture. Gorilla-naming is a unique tradition invented by Rwandans, hence becoming a tourist peculiarity. Apart from this, tourism helps in understanding the various cultural, geographical and historical facts of the country. It opens a new window to the world for travelers to broaden their horizons.
Undoubtedly, tourism has become an important industry that has an impact on the development of the country’s economy. The main benefits of tourism are income creation and generation of jobs. Like in many regions and countries, tourism is the most important source of foreign-earning.
Besides, the gorilla-naming event is an amazing opportunity for public awareness-raising for the protection of the endangered mountain gorillas. It is an incredibly exciting event that receives widespread media coverage.
A central question is: how conservation is important to our way of life?
There’s a common belief that conservation is a triangle made up of humans, livestock and wildlife. This triangle functions on a principle of respect for nature, and an awareness that we truly depend on it. If one part of the triangle is missing, the other elements will fail. It is time for all of us to foster this notion of respect. It is vital that we listen to nature and the communities that have a deep first-hand knowledge of wildlife.
Along with the benefits of tourism that arise through high wildlife populations, predators also play a vital part in balancing the ecosystem. However, this is inapplicable to engendered species. Then, proper management of conservation is at the core of sustainable development.
Indeed, Kwita Izina is a window to galvanize citizen-contribution to the conservation of critically engendered mountain gorillas as well as other endangered animals in accordance with the principle of inter-generational equity.
It is a principle that relates to equity between species which comes from respect resulting from the intrinsic value of nature regardless of its usefulness for the benefit of humans. This is in line with the common belief that ‘mankind is a part of nature and life depends on the uninterrupted functioning of natural systems, which ensure the supply of energy and nutrients.’
Across the world, exploding human consumption is seen as a major cause of massive dying out of global wildlife populations in recent decades. Consequently, it compounded losses in vertebrate species, notably mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
It is noteworthy that all components of the environment have value, not only because of their peaceful co-existence of humans and gorillas is evident and productive. As a matter of fact, gorillas give birth every year and have significantly increased in numbers. But, if human activities turn out to be detrimental to gorilla habitat the chances of their survival would be extremely minimal.
To achieve citizen participation in conservation efforts, the communities within the vicinity of the National Parks enjoy the tourism revenue sharing programme, which is 10% of total tourism park revenues. These incentives contribute to the development and welfare of these communities. In turn, it enhances community involvement in conservation and the protection of biodiversity.
It’s important to stress again that conservation exists in the community. So, engaging communities for conservation significantly contributes to the conservation goal. Today, there’s a healthy collaboration of National Park authorities and communities in terms of preventing any menaces in the protected areas.
It’s important to press on education efforts to communities as it may not be taken for granted that all is perfect. Through constant education and support to the communities, they would be motivated to utilize that knowledge to resist any degrading activities to the conservation. The truth is it is doable and achievable. Undoubtedly, human activities remain the number one menace to the conservation. Living alongside conservation puts communities in a better position to identify challenges and suggest more suitable innovative solutions needed to protect conservation and wildlife. While a lot has been done in terms of conservation campaigns, there should be no let-up. Fortunately, these are now realizing the long-term benefits of a sustainable environment.
Aside from proper management of conservation, ‘Kwiza Izina’ event is a window to visit Rwanda and get to know the country’s culture and lifestyle of Rwandans. Equally, it’s an opportunity to visit touristic features and tourism products (found in national parks), to explore investment opportunities, and to get to know the country’s transformational agenda as well as its history.
The writer is a law expert.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.