21 June 2013

Rwanda: Stars Jet in Ahead of Kwita Izina

As preparations intensify for the 9th Gorilla Naming Ceremony -- known as Kwita Izina -- slated for Musanze District this Saturday, high profile personalities have started jetting in, with some expected to be among the 'namers' of the 12 baby gorillas to be given names.

According to Rwanda Development Board, the main organiser of the event, the celebrities expected to grace the event include the television personalities, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Rifai Taleb, renowned Dutch celebrities Lieke van Lexmond - a model, actress and TV presenter - and Mark van Eeuwin, a famous actor.

The naming will also feature American economist Jeffrey Sachs, and African celebrities including Nigerian actor Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah Jr.

Profiles of people to name gorillas

Rifai Taleb

He is Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) based in Madrid, Spain. He holds this position since 1 January 2010.

From January 2003 to February 2006, Rifai was the Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

He served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan including Minister of Tourism and Antiquities; Minister of Information; and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.

Lieke van Lexmond

She is a Dutch model, actress and TV presenter. She became famous when she played for 10 years in TV soap Goedetijdenslechtetijden (good times bad times) with 1.5 million viewers every day.

She now presents several prime-time TV shows for RTL Broadcasting, the largest commercial TV station in the Netherlands with 4 TV channels.

Mark van Eeuwin

He is Dutch actor who was also made popular by the TV soap Goedetijdenslechtetijden. He started in 2005 and ended this performance in 2012.

He has also played in several TV sitcoms and blockbuster movies, like Snowfever and De Eetclub. In 2012 he surprised everyone when he was the winner of TV show/contest Strictly Come Dancing, a ballroom dancing contest for Dutch celebrities.

Isaiah Washington

He is an American actor, a veteran of several Spike Lee films. Washington is best known for his role as Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy from 2005 until 2007.

Cyprian Chitundu

He is Managing Director of ZESCO Limited, a power utility company operating under the supervision of the Zambian Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development in.

Throughout his career, Cyprian received several awards due to his outstanding performance and dedication to duty.

In 2005, his work and skills in management were recognized when he was nominated and awarded the prestigious Best African Power Station Manager of the Year. This was in recognition of bringing Excellence to the Power Industry in Africa.

Dr Paula Kahumbu

She is the executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and Wildlife Direct, and chairman of the Friends of Nairobi National Park.

She was coached and mentored by paleoanthropologist and conservationist Richard Leakey, who remains one of her closest allies and supporters.

Paul Dalgleish

He is the Director of Sales and Marketing - Middle East - African Continent - Marriott Hotels International Inc.

Jeffrey David Sachs

He is an American economist and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah Jr

Ramsey is an award-winning Nigerian actor. In 2010 he scooped the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Kazuya Ogawa

The Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda.


Born in Burundi as Jean-Pierre Nimbona, he is better known by his stage name Kidumu Kibido, and he is one of the most loved artists in the region. Kidumu is currently based in Nairobi.

Elizabeth Nyirakaragure

She is a vet who is passionate about taking care of the gorillas. She has been with the Volcanoes National Park for the past 25 years.

Soon after her graduation from secondary school, Elizabeth was hired by the Rwanda Office for Tourism and National Parks (now part of the Rwandan Development Board) as a veterinary assistant, working alongside the very first gorilla doctor, Dr. James Foster.

Chantal Nyiranyenzi

A farmer, Chantal is the vice chair of Twisungane-Gatare Cooperative, which has benefited from the Tourism Revenue Sharing scheme. Her cooperative is implementing a cereals grinding plant project that benefits more than 1000 families in 2 Sectors of Nyamagabe and 2 of Karongi Districts.

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