Kwita Izina 2017

Kwita Izina (to give a name) is a famous, ancient Rwandan naming ceremony performed by the very first of our ancestors as part and parcel of the celebration and welcoming of a newborn child in the family. Tradition has it that family members who designate the name of each newborn subsequently announce the given name during the ceremony.

In analogy with their human counterparts a similar ceremony has been held for our primate(Gorillas), namely marvelous mountain gorillas born on the sides of the beautiful and luscious green hills of Rwanda. Investors, Researchers,Rangers and other conservation specialists all partake in the ceremony honoring these very unique animals in a special way.

The event is at the centerpiece of the annual celebration of Rwanda’s concerted conservation efforts in protecting the endangered mountain gorilla, whose different families have been recorded to have thrived over the years.

President  Paul Kagame officiated  the 13th edition of gorillas naming ceremony – Kwita Izina – in Kinigi sector, Musanze district, where this colorful  ceremony gathered  thousands of people including World renown celebrities and more.

PK with guests

President Kagame with the guests that named the baby gorillas during the Kwita Izina celebrations 2017

To-date, two hundred and thirty nine(239)mountain gorillas have been named in 12 consecutive ceremonies since the first kwita izina in 2005. Kwita Izina is fast becoming known as an Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism. This  year’s kwita izina alongside the naming ceremony other celebration and activities took place  such as a fundraising gala dinner,followed by a conservation and tourism exhibition and the highly acclaimed conservation on conservation dialogue forum. Hosted familiarization trips for international tour operators and media all these happened before the  important part of the event  for the 13th kwita izina which was held on Friday 1st sept 2017.


Participants during the Gorilla naming ceremony in Musanze 2017

This year’s kwita izina ceremony had a theme dubbed “CONSERVATION IS LIFE where participants  named 22 newly born baby gorillas by 19 naming individuals  from different walks of life, namely:

Dr Stoinski, CEO Saving Gorillas, named a baby from the Titus family MACIBIRI to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Karisoke Research center;

Dr Nsengimana named a baby from the Susa family; the baby’s name is INYANGE meaning a handsome and smart creature (in this case – a gorilla);

Honorable Laurent Lamothe, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti named baby IKORANABUHANGA promoting ICT as a drive to Rwanda’s development;

We had the famous Nollyhood actress Ms Patience Ozokwor who named a baby gorilla from the Agashya family Inkesha to mean a new and rising star in the gorilla family;

Mr Andrew Muir, CEO Wildness Foundation Africa  who named a baby gorilla Ubudasa which means uniqueness and difference,

Dr Winnie Kiiru from stop Ivory and Trustee Kenya wildlife named a baby gorilla Akaraza meaning  ‘Welcome’;

Prof.Fischer from the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany named a baby gorilla Isuku recognizing the cleanliness in Rwanda;

,Mr.Jean Kayihura a representative from the Gishwati community names a baby gorilla Mudahinyuka meaning someone truthful and reliable;

Gisa Gakwisi, the young lad who made a model of the Radisson Blu and Kigali Convention Center out of clay named a baby gorilla Urungano meaning generation;

Mr Stevens the General manager One & Only Nyungwe House named a baby gorilla IMIRASIRE, highlighting Rwanda’s effort to enhance solar power energy;

Mr Greg Bakunzi, CEO Amahoro Tours & Red rocks names a baby gorilla TEMBERURWANDA encouraging people to visit and explore Rwanda;

Mr McDonald photographic tour operator& conservationist who trekked the gorillas 100 times named a baby Inkingi meaning pillar of development,

Mr.Schaefar, M.D Volkswagen South Africa named a baby Nsanganira to state that the adult female has been accepted in the new group;

Dr Laetitia Principal at the University of Rwanda CAVM named an adult female IRIBA meaning  a ‘water source’;

Ms Veronica Verekova, a famous Super model& conservationist gave the name of Ubwiza translated as ‘Beauty’,

Performing artist The Ben named a baby gorilla Uruyange meaning ‘Shiny Flowers’;

Ms Chloe Bello named a gorilla baby Iyamarere meaning ‘Courageous and Enthusiastic’;

Mr Ledger M.G of Singita named a baby Gorilla Kwitonda meaning ‘Consolation’;

Mr Howard Buffet,chairman of the Howard G.Buffet Foundation named a male baby gorilla Umutware, meaning a ‘leader’.

Before officiating at Kwita Izina, President Kagame also launched the luxury Bisate lodge in musanze district. Rwanda  has recently crossed to over a million tourists coming to Rwanda due to the flexible Visa processes, One can get a visa online, for Africans and some other countries you can get a visa on arrival. In a nutshell, Rwanda tourism contributes 30% of exports and service  and 3% of total GDP, the number of people visiting volcanoes national park has doubled between 2010-2016 from 16,000 to nearly over 32,000 people. Tourism remains the biggest foreign exchange earner in Rwanda.

Gorilla - 03Mudahinyuka from Amahoro group named by Jean Kayihura

A slice of caves and heaven in the Northwestern Rwanda

In the breezy Northern Rwanda’s small town of Musanze, on the tracks of the line of contrasting landscape, up on mountains and down in caves too, I was determined to know and see for myself what Rwanda showcases, way besides the animals’destinations around the country.
Her beauty left me mesmerized. But yet, it was one subset of a longer, larger, multiple-district involving trail that Mother Nature decided to put in the heart of Africa, for all to see, that small city on a hill, with displayed lights, a bit like that beautiful village girl attracting tourists and local visitors to come, get inspired and go back with a smile, leaving in wander.

The story below as I saw it – how to put it politely – has swept me off my feet first too, let me get at it, with a pose first.

With mixed feelings of fear and excitement, I entered into the first of the two caves that go down and give you the impression of heading to a meeting with Lucifer at His residence. My honest and first – filled with fear – question was if there are animals to expect. But, where was I with my mind; the flying rats that stand upside down on trees and that love darkness – read bats – love and live for such cozy moments and environments. It took me close to an hour, to go through that – up down the small stones and rocks around the caves, hearing from a far the crying sounds of the light-disturbed bats, making a pulse skip a beat and get on track again, invoking my ancestors and the Holy Trinity as I explored this lost beauty. Hell is hot – I presume, but the caves were cooler. And the green, wild leaves on the inside held me spellbound. Appalling as it sounds, I felt like staying in.

Just like a giant tunnel, I kept going forward with the guide, falling at the charm of that hidden beauty. Truthful as they say, the beauty of Lady Rwanda is hidden. A full hour tour down the clock, my body that got swept off from my feet earlier, slowly got back to them. All I needed – all I yearned for, at this right hour of the moment was a light. Dimming as it may be, the beauty was enthralling but some light too. On and On, but no light still. Fear kicked in, the bats were louder, excitement waned and an urge of getting away and carry on the day slowly got installed. Started to think of it as a big house with too many rooms that I wished I could visit all. And while lost in my wandering fear, blimey – a Light! End of the tunnel, Jacky has made it! Completing this exhilarating exercise deserved a small snap.

But that wasn’t all – was it. Discovering the appealing curves of the Lady I had decided to explore, from down up, was not to end at the caves. I had to do justice to myself and to my new found luring object.

To reward my inquisitive person – as I was discovering a new and exciting face of my country, further West, Lady Rwanda decided to blow me with a gentle kiss on my cheeks,right in the middle of the Rutsiro Tea Factory some way to whisper to me – I have got more for you, young lady. And it went on. Went on. And it couldn’t tire my eyes to look at it. The green went on. Seated at one of the top mountains in the district of Rutsiro, innocent green tea leaves awing more than a tourist gave a peaceful soft dance back and forth – left and right to my staring eyes.

The sun added to the fairy scenery and went down too. Giving an altogether sense of serenity and calm, and an I-do-not-know-what-English-to-use feeling describing what was at stake for what was a great exploration of my new found Lady…friend

And oh, How could our national tea not be of world-renown if grown in such conditions?
And still – more can be done; the caves, to add in more spice could be greatly managed to a better touring facility with a more researched historical background, because trust me, a lot has been dealt with in the entrails of Lady Rwanda. As I was walking too.

Until the next one.