Kwita Izina

I know I promised news of our garden renovation for my next post, but I didn’t want to wait too long before sharing my photos of the baby gorilla naming ceremony on Saturday in Kinigi-Musanze in the north of Rwanda.

The Rwanda Development Board has been holding a naming ceremony (Kwita Izina) for each year’s babies since 2005 to raise awareness of conservation in the Volcanoes National Park and to highlight the work of the various Rwandan tourism enterprises.

Banana stalks are traditionally used to mark the way to an important event. On Saturday, there were banana stalks staked up on both sides of the road from Kigali to Kinigi-Musanze (a 2-hour drive) about every 25 yards.
The tents and banners of the event. Unfortunately, the sky stayed overcast so we never really got a good view of the volcanoes.

Unfortunately, good animal conservation practices did not allow for the actual presence at the ceremony of this year’s 20 babies. But we had a card with their pictures, their mothers’ names, and a place to write their new names as they were called out.  You can ooh and aah over more of their really cute pictures at this link.

This baby’s mother is Nchili, and he likes kissing. Photo via kwitizina.org.
This baby’s mother is Rwandrushya. According to http://www.kwitizina.org, he has already challenged the silverback of his group.

However, we did have a fun bit of theatrics with 2o children costumed as gorillas.

The “baby gorillas” arrive.  Click the photos to enlarge them.
The “baby gorillas” cavort for the crowd as their park ranger observers take note.

They did a really good job of mimicking the movements of real young gorillas, and they were even accompanied by observers taking notes.  However, the masks were maybe a little too toothy.

The baby gorillas pose for the press.

We had a great morning, although it was quite cold — next year I will bring a blanket — and it was too overcast to see the volcanoes’ peaks.

A Rwandan drumming group entertains before the naming ceremony.
They were followed on the stage by traditional Intore dancers.
The arrival of the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the rumor that Robert DeNiro was coming to the ceremony turned out to be untrue.
The baby gorillas onstage as the Mayor of Musanze announces a baby’s name.
A faint glimpse of a volcano peak behind the tents.

Gorilla tourism in Rwanda has contributed to a 26.3% growth in the mountain gorilla population since the last census in 2003.  Tourism brought US$200 million in revenues to Rwanda in 2010.

9 thoughts on “Kwita Izina

  1. Love knowing the tiny baby already challenged the silverback.

    Great to get out of my urban jungle, seeing your post. At least I’ve created my own ‘world’ with the moat of grace my garden provides.

    Wish I could smell everything in your pics.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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