On Saturday, June 20, 2009, the RDB/Tourism and Conservation department, held the Fifth Kwita Izina ceremony to give names to the newest arrivals in the Gorilla families.
One would think that the Gorilla naming ceremony starts at the venue. It is not right. I don’t mind exposing my excitement at the many sights and sounds I experienced on my journey from Kigali to Kinigi, the venue for the name giving ceremony! It was my first time that route.
And I was excited about the whole event, actually the ceremony, to me, started with my preparation of what I would wear for the day. Beautiful roads fenced by rocks, breathtakingly sharp corners along the route guide you to Kinigi.
The journey was great. We even stopped at the famous Nyirangarama shop along the way. I used to hear about it but here I was in the must-stop-centre. Fellow travellers kept reminding the driver to ensure he doesn’t bypass the famous shop. Many restored their energy levels with the juices at hand.
At the venue, the Gorilla family looked so real until one looked close enough to notice that actually the ‘babies’ were humans dressed to look like them. The actual Gorillas stay in their habitat up in the mountains.
That day 18 God Fathers were lined up to give names to the new members of the Gorilla family. And they were not your ordinary God Fathers. The list of celebrities present was not small.
The crowd present was in itself breath taking. It was like the whole of Rwanda had converged at the site.
At the event, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Deputy CEO Chantal Rosette Rugamba noted that the birth of every baby gorilla is an important step towards achieving the vision to ensure that the mountain gorillas are no longer the endangered species but the world’s best protected animals in the wild and natural surroundings.
How true that is. And with the kind of guests present who included Haithar Abdi Abdirahin the head of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Multi millionaire and conservationist Sabine Platner, Central Bank Governor Francois Kanimba, UN Year of the Gorilla Ambassador Ian Redmond, RDB CEO Joe Ritchie and Mnet’s Studio 53 presenter Gaetano Kaggwa…surely the future for the Gorillas looks bright. And with such God parents, their security is a little assured.
I thought I would get to see our President live but it wasn’t to be. Maybe next year. Still, I my day was made in another way, thanks to Gaetano Kagwa, I will have a Gorillas namesake – Mutesi!
There was a lot of entertainment from our very own music stars, local drama group Mashirika and many more. All I can say is that I was fortunate to witness this event from close up. And I hope to visit Mutesi regularly.
You should be part of this next year but above all, spread the message on the importance of preserving these gentle giants!