Rwanda’s Prestigious Kwita Izina

Gorillas are the largest of the living Primates, they are ground dwelling and predominantly herbivorous.
Dr Ian Redmond in naming a gorrila during 2009 Kwita Izina
Dr Ian Redmond in naming a gorrila during 2009 Kwita Izina

Gorillas are the largest of the living Primates, they are ground dwelling and predominantly herbivorous.

The mountain gorilla inhabits the Virunga Mountain ranges that straddle the boarder of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and about a third of the world’s gorilla’s population lives in Rwanda.

Kwita Izina (Gorilla Naming) is an annual event held in Rwanda to name baby gorillas.  This ceremony is derived from a tradition of  the Banyarwanda people, who have held baby naming ceremonies for decades. This ceremony is known as ‘Kwita Izina’ which means ‘to give a name’.

Gorilla naming is a conscious effort not only  to raise awareness of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda ,but also to highlight Rwanda as an excellent tourist destination.

Kwita Izina over the years is becoming the world’s premiere tourist event in Rwanda.

Rwanda is proud to be the first to have a public gorilla naming ceremony and intends to use this opportunity to firstly, raise awareness at national and international level to protect the few remaining mountain gorillas, to announce Rwanda’s mountain gorilla conservation efforts and to attract tourist to the Kwita Izina ceremony 

The naming ceremony features traditional dances, poems and praising the benefits of gorilla tourism towards the local people’s livelihoods.

The name attributed to a gorilla plays a great role in the monitoring programmes of each individual gorilla in its group and habitat.

Kita Izina, the uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness for the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas, which is in line with this year’s World Environment Day theme, “Many species, One planet, One future.”

On Saturday, June 5th Rwanda will host the World Environment Day as well as celebrate the sixth “Kwita Izina” ceremony through her agency Rema and RDB respectively.

At this event, names will be given to 14 Mountain gorillas at the foot of the Virunga Mountain in Kinigi- Musanze, Northern Province,

The National Theme for this years ‘Kwita Izina’ is “Raising global awareness on biodiversity conservation as we give names to our baby gorillas”

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