Kwita Inzina – Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony :  Drum roll Drum roll, September is here! It’s the month of naming gorillas in Rwanda it’s time for Kwita Inzina; the most important and prestigious gorilla celebration in the region.

This full day event that has other additional activities over a course of a week or two, is one of the ways Rwanda continues to strengthen and cement its commitment to mountain gorilla conservation in the country, the region and in the world at large.

The Kwita Inzina ceremony is also an opportunity for the government through Rwanda Development Board to extend their gratitude to the communities living around the national parks especially volcanoes National park for their contribution towards the conservation of mountain gorillas. This is the same for other partners like mountain gorilla trackers, rangers, researchers, activist and many more.

Others reasons for the naming ceremony are to raise awareness on mountain gorilla conservation, raise funds for mountain gorilla conservation, market mountain gorilla tourism, showcase mountain gorillas and their habitats among other things.

Since its inception in 2005 and the event has grown to attract people from all across the globe who wish to participate in the event and name a gorilla of their own. And for primate lovers to name a gorilla is not just a dream come true a surreal moment, unforgettable for a lifetime.

 Kwita Izina
Kwita Izina

Kwita Inzina translated directly to English from Rwandan is “To Name.” Kwita Izina is a long old tradition in Rwanda where parents would hold a ceremony in the presence of friends and family to name their young child or recently born child.

This is the same idea with the “gorilla naming ceremony “the ceremony is held amidst people to name the baby gorillas born over the past year. And though these are gorillas’ not human children, Rwanda echos that giving these gorillas a name, gives them the value they surely deserve as some of the rare apes in the world. It’s for that reason that the naming ceremony has kept going on and on for years now.

This year’s Kwita Izina will be held on Friday, 2 September 2022 in Kinigi at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park. There is great expectation for this event to be massive since it comes 2 years after the COVID19 pandemic and when things to be fully returned to normal. So there is hope for great physical attendance and extravagant celebrations all together.

The event is usually open to the public and if you would like to attend you register online on the Rwanda Development board website to book a slot. However the name givers rather the persons chosen to name the gorillas are usually invited or will have another protocol to follow; all this information can be found on the Rwanda Development Board website.

The distinguished namers usually are international and local celebrities, figures in wildlife conservation in Rwanda and around the world, prominent figures, community members who have contributed to mountain gorilla conservation, students etc.

Kwita Inzina - Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony
Kwita Inzina – Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony

On the Kwita Inzina ceremony when a namer is mentioned, they will step out and tells the attendees about the baby gorilla, its mother and respective group and then goes ahead and announces the chosen name for the gorilla explaining the reasons for that particular name and the meaning of the name. From that moment on the baby gorilla are identified by that name as they grow and live a great life.

The number of namers is determined by the number of baby gorillas born in the year that need naming and as stated they are chosen prior to the event.

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