Home Forums Tourist Attraction Centres in Africa Kwita Izina; The Naming Ceremony of Baby Gorillas.

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    Grace Amos

      In Rwanda, there is an annual ceremony that takes place in the naming of a newborn baby gorilla, this is called Kwita Izina. The name was inspired by the newborn’s naming in the past. The naming is typically inspired and rooted in Rwandan traditions, it is a tradition that has been and is still practiced today.



      Kwita Izina was primarily created to help monitor each gorilla and their groups in their natural habitat. It was also created for Rwanda’s tourism purposes, by drawing both local and international attention to the importance of safeguarding the mountain gorillas and habitats.


      Each September of the year the ceremony takes place at the Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga Mountains in the north of the country.  The ceremony entails a week-long program of activities that includes a conference, workshops, and the highlight being the naming ceremony.


      During the naming, invited guests converge at a huge, silverback-shaped bamboo stage and carefully name each gorilla with a chosen name according to the baby’s behavior and unique character traits. This is believed by Rwandans to encourage good fortune and play a significant role in shaping the infants’ futures.



      Each year visitors are attracted from all over the world by the celebration which includes traditional music, dancing, and performances from local students and artists.  Dignitaries, international celebrities, and the country’s President attend the ceremony which usually takes place near the town of Kinigi, at the foothills of the Virunga Massif.



      Names in Rwanda have always been essential and they are believed to influence the character and future prospects of a newborn and help shape their life journey. Since the inception of Kwita Izina, over 280 baby gorillas have been named thoughtfully and carefully. Before inception, rangers who protected them were responsible for the naming of the gorillas.



      Each baby gorilla at Kwita Izina is introduced to the world and given a special moniker, bringing statistics to life and showing how the gorillas are not only welcomed as new members of their families by the Rwandan people and the international community, but also as priceless gifts.



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