THE tourism industry flagship ceremony, Kwita-Izina, brought Musanze to a standstill with preparatory events that will culminate in the main baby gorilla naming ceremony today.
In its eleventh year, Kwita-Izina has become the country’s biggest tourism attraction and commended globally as a major step toward conserving mountain gorillas, a species that faced extinction just a few years ago.
According to the head of the tourism department at Rwanda Development Board, Faustin Karasira, this year, citizens will, for the first time, be awarded for their efforts in conservation and promotion of the tourism sector.
“We will also host over 32 dignitaries from across the globe. We will award citizens for their efforts to conserve, maintain and protect the tourism industry,” he said.
As of 5pm last evening, preparations were in high gear with artistes, including Mani Martin, Urban Boyz and Rafiki, making last-minute rehearsals before they take to the stage today to entertain guests at the event that will take place at the foot of the Volcanoes Mountain range.
Other activities that preceded the ceremony included a Kwita-Izina tennis tournament, a photo exhibition, a conservation on conservation and a ‘Crazy Night Festival’ at Red Rocks and the “Igitaramo,” which was held last night.
Several businesses have set up shop at the venue in anticipation of cashing in on the event that will gather thousands, including foreigners from the region and beyond.
However, some business operators said the changes in Kwita-Izina schedule from June – as has been the norm in the previous years – to September had affected their operation.
“We haven’t made a lot of money this time round. The timing is wrong because most tourists have gone back. However, I think with time people will get used to the new schedule,” said Musa Kayinamura, a taxi driver.
Red Rocks was due to host a night of interaction and fun that leads up to the Kwita Izina event.
“Kwita-Izina gives us the opportunity to sell Rwanda’s culture and heritage to other countries. We are going to host “Crazy Night of the Gorillas” so that people can experience intercultural differences between our countries,” said Harriet Ingabire, the co-founder of Red Rocks.
Kwita-Izina is inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming newborn babies. In the 10 years since its inception, more than 160 gorillas have been named in a celebration of nature and the communities who protect the majestic mountain gorilla.
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