Celebrities, renowned philanthropists, diplomats public figures and conservation heroes participated in the “kwita izina” ceremony, the gorilla-naming event that takes place every year in Rwanda.
This year, the mountain gorilla naming event attracted one of the strongest line up of guests including; Sol Campbell, the Arsenal and England legend, Bernard Lama a French football coach and former Paris Saint Germain (PSG) goalkeeper.
In total 23 baby gorillas born in the last 12 months at the Volcano National Park in Northern West of Rwanda were named.
Since KwitaIzina began, 374 baby mountain gorillas have been named, and the population in the Virunga Massif has grown by 23 percent.”
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart virtually was this year’s first namer of gorilla, he named a baby ‘Gakondo” which means “Tradition.”
“The name was chosen to highlight Rwanda’s rich cultural values and traditions that have enabled Kwita Izina to be practiced for many years and be part of the country’s development journey.”Kevin said.
Zurab Pololikashvili, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General named his baby girl gorilla as ‘Inshingano’ from the Isimbi family.
He explained that the name means ‘Chosen to represent responsibility.
“We are here to support Rwanda, especially the youth who make up the greatest population, we shall continue to support them and tourism is one way to do it.” Zurab said.
Sol Campbell named his baby gorilla “Jijuka” from the Segasira family. which means “Enlightenment”.
“I chose this name to highlight peace and sustainable conservation to come for many years.”
Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre Elba named the baby gorilla “Narame” from the Mutobo family which means long life.
This name is given as a tribute to Narame’s mother, Mudakama, who lost her last two babies and is a wish for her newborn son to have a long and prosperous life.” the couple explained.
Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP – Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom named his baby Mukundwa.
In addition, Cyrille Bolloré, the Chief Executive Officer, named his baby gorilla “Mugisha,” which translates to “Blessing,” to acknowledge the remarkable motherhood of Gutangara, who has many offspring that are all thriving in Volcanoes Park.
First lady Jeanattee Kagame thanked the guests past and present saying that today’s event is perhaps one of the highlights of our year as admirers of our rich biodiversity.
“There is little as full filling to celebrate as new lives, and our adorable baby gorilla’s are certainly worth the occasion.
“To us mountain gorilla’s are a source of tourism, to us our gorilla’s are custodians of the nature that we truly cherish.”First Lady added.
In her remarks, Clair Akamazi the Chief Executive Officer EO of RDB explained that today, we gave a name, an identity, and a future to 23 new baby gorillas, who only a few decades ago, would have been threatened by extinction.
The CEO urged namers like any other good parent to find the balance and make time to check on the baby gorillas regularly to help raise them into responsible adults.
The guests were entertained with songs and dances celebrating the beauty and importance of the magnificent mountain gorillas, and Rwanda’s conservation by Mashirika Rwanda.
This year marked the 19th edition of this event, The first naming ceremony was first held in 2005.