Kwita Izina is one of the biggest events on the tourism calendar in Africa. Held annually in Rwanda, this event sees the naming of all the new born gorillas. Like new born babies in a family, Rwanda also names new born babies every year. Ceremonies are conducted at Kinigi headquarters of Volcanoes national park and every new born baby Gorilla is represented by a statue which is dressed like a gorilla.
It is one of the important annual ceremonies in Rwanda because it also attended by Conservationists, Government officers, Officers from Rwanda development Board (RDB), Rwanda’s tour operators and those from outside, officers form international organizations like UNESCO and many others.
Origin of the Event
The birth of a child in Rwanda is a big event for the family and neighbourhood, and the naming of the child at the Kwita Izina ceremony is traditionally the chance to welcome him or her into the wider world. The baby is carried outside and shown to the public, and young children suggest names for this infant who has recently joined them. The parents then select one of the names. It’s a lively gathering, accompanied by plenty of food, drink and, of course, dancing. So success was the inaugural public ceremony that it has now become an annual event, held in mid to late June, when all gorillas born over the past 12 months are given a formal name to the accompaniment of traditional music and dance.
When was it started?
Kwita Izina started in 2005 with the aim of conserving Gorillas and their habitat. Today it is celebrated every year at the footsteps of Virunga Mountains and since 2007 tourism has been Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange earnings.
REASONS FOR NAMING YOUNG GORILLAS IN RWANDA
Naming of new baby Gorillas is a sounding bell to tell the entire world that more Gorillas are born in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and that the number of Gorillas is increasing.
Kwita Izina calls more tourists to come to Rwanda for Gorilla trekking. In other words, it’s a marketing strategy to call for more Gorilla trekkers.
Kwita Izina is welcome new born Gorillas in the wild. Just like new born baby at home, naming celemony is made to welcome it in the family.
It is also done for easy identification. Each Gorilla is identified from its name and the rangers can easily get to know that Gorilla X is sick, dead or lost.
Kwita Izinais meant to mark the birth of New born babies. Just like human beings who celebrated their birth days.
Naming Gorillas is done to unite tour operators from different parts of the world. It is noted that tour operators from many countries are invited to attend Kwitainzina and they are informed in advance.
Kwita Izina is meant to promote Volcanoes National park – to make it famous in the world.
It is also meant to increase the number of Gorilla trekkers in Volcanoes national park. It is believed that on the Gorilla naming day, many trekkers visit Gorillas in Volcanoes national Park.
Kwita Izina is meant to promote other tourist attractions in Rwanda. Other attractions like Genocide memorial sites, Chimpanzees and Colobus monkeys in Nyungwe, Golden monkeys and Virunga Mountains in Volcanoes national park, a variety of wildlife in Akagera National park among others.
It is an early habituation process – it is aiming at making young gorillas familiar to human being to enable Gorilla trekking move smoothly.
It is in Rwandans tradition and culture to name new born babies in families. Therefore, they find it importance to do the same on Gorillas.
Kwita Izina is aiming at promoting domestic tourism- the naming ceremonies make awareness about the presence of mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes national park.
Kwita Inzina enable rangers, guides, researchers and Rwanda development Board officers know the current number of Mountain Gorillas available in Volcanoes National park.
Kwita Izina strengthens the relationship between Gorillas and human being.
BENEFITS OF KWITA IZINA / ACHIEVEMENTS FROM GORILLA NAMING IN RWANDA
The number of Gorilla trekkers has increased in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking permit is sold at US$ 750 compared to Uganda’ Gorilla trekking permit which is sold at US$ 600 but instead, many tourists decided to trek Rwanda Gorillas. According to annual statistics, the number of Gorilla trekkers is more than those of Uganda.
Gorillas are easily identified by their names- the rangers know each gorilla by name. in other words, Kwita Izina has strengthened the relationship between man and Gorillas.
The ceremony has made Rwanda famous world wide – people from different locations knows Rwanda.
It has made the world aware of the presence of Gorillas in Rwanda.
Kwita Izinahs promoted tourism in Rwanda. In other words, it has marketed other tourist attractions like chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, the Virunga ranges among others.
Gorilla naming ceremonies has made other National park also known. National Parks like Akagera and Nyungwe are also visited by tourists after trekking Gorillas in Volcanoes national park for supplementary purposed.
Visitors from all corners of the world are welcome to attend these events. Many travelers also take gorilla safaris during this period, a way through which more valuable funds that are needed for the protection of the mountain gorillas are raised. If you are looking at taking a safari during the Kwita Izina week, you are advised to book your trip early enough. You can contact one of the tour operators listed on this website to make your travel arrangements.