The kwita izina was a naming ceremony in the old tradition centuries where Rwandans named their children in the presence of family and friends. Over 3 decades until the first official Rwanda gorilla naming ceremony where park rangers and researchers named Rwanda’s mountain gorilla babies as a way of keeping track on the gorilla within their family and habitat.
Therefore the kwita izina is a gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda and over 300 mountain gorilla have been named around the volcanoes. The ceremony is attached to naming of baby gorillas immediately after giving birth in the culture of Rwanda. The naming process is attended by both international and local people with a lot of performances from cultural dancers.
Rwanda officially started the mountain gorilla naming in 2005 and this has become a global celebration of wildlife as well as nature through giving the magnificent creatures names and thus giving them a value that they deserve. Since the days of Dian Fossey when the mountain gorillas almost vanished in the world where every gorilla birth meant a lot to the conservation team. Therefore, the festival always takes place at the volcanoes national park at kinigi within Musanze. From the start of the festival, this has brought awareness to the community and the world at large on the importance of conserving nature and wildlife. The numbers of mountain gorillas have also increased to 26.3% which is a great attainment.
The kwita izina is got from a local Kinyarwanda word which means ` to give a name’ and this has always been part of the Rwanda culture where they give new born babies names for centuries. This made the Rwandan development board and government put emphasis on naming the mountain gorillas in order to boost conservation of the gorillas. The festival is a chance to credit the community that stay near and around the gorilla habitat, volcanoes national park, vets, rangers, research partners and conservationist who put in a lot of efforts to protect the gorillas for a year.
As the festival is on going tourists can also appreciate basket weaving, African music, different kinds of food as well as the true African culture. The naming of the gorillas is done put into consideration the characteristics of the gorillas and their behaviors. After the festival the tourists can also engage into other enjoyable activities such as a visit to lake kivu, exploring nyungwe national park, the historical sites, mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, birding as well as a visit to the Rwanda genocide site among others.
Throughout the 15years, over 300 plus mountain gorillas have been named and the kwita izina today forms a segment of the strategies of preserving the natural heritage and expanding the tourism culture in the country. As the effect of the naming ceremony, all the local and foreign people within Rwanda understand the value of the mountain gorillas and their contributions towards the country’s economy making them to be mountain gorilla guardians.
Therefore, with such efforts Rwanda has been able to turn up as a conservation and sustainable leader in the tourism sector on the global continent. That is to say in the 2010 census the mountain gorillas had increased to 480 and in the 2016 census report stipulated 604 mountain gorillas within the Virunga mountains. With such efforts, these have increased on the number of mountain gorillas worldwide to 1,004 individuals and they are no longer endangered.