Rwanda: Kwita Izina - Meet the 2019 Namers of 25 Baby Gorillas

Naomi Campbell (file photo).
5 September 2019

Rwandans, conservationists, celebrities, and friends of Rwanda will today, Friday, head to Kinigi in Northern Province to witness the naming of the 25 mountain baby gorillas.

Last year, 23 baby gorillas were named by conservation champions from all over the world.

This tradition is locally known as Kwita Izina, and the country has been doing this for the last 14 years.

The tradition was first introduced in 2005 to highlight the importance of the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas and recognize the role of those who have dedicated their work to conserve them.

This will be the 15th edition.

The baby gorillas that will be named are members of the Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Igisha, Isimbi, Muhoza, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Susa, Pablo, Kuryama, Mafunzo, Kureba, Musirikali, and Ntambara groups.

This time, the ceremony is expected to attract celebrities like English supermodel Naomi Campbell, American RnB singer Ne-Yo, soccer legend Tony Adams, and renowned choreographer Sherie Silver, just to mention but a few.

Here are the names:

Paul Milton & Luke Bailes: Founder of Milton Group that developed the Singita Kwitonda Lodge on behalf of investors Paul Tudor Jones and Anders Povlsen.

Milton is a conservationist and has been working in Rwanda for the past 5 years.

The Founder and Executive Chairman of Singita, Luke Bailes, has been a pioneer in tourism conservation on the continent for decades.

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Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe: He is a former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and a close friend of Rwanda.

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Amina Mohammed: She is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. She was formerly the Federal Minister of the Environment of Nigeria, where she steered the country's efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development.

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HRH Princess Basma bint Ali: The only daughter of King Talal bin Abdullah and Queen Zein of Jordan, Bint Ali is an advocate of biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture in Jordan. She is a founder of many non-government environmental organizations like the Royal Botanic Garden of Jordan (RBG) and the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan.

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Dame Louise Martin, DBE: She is President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, which oversees one of the world's biggest sporting events - the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. She is a sports administrator, retired athlete, nutritionist, and former educator.

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Tony Adams: An English football legend, Adams played for Arsenal and England and went on to captain both teams. With Arsenal, he won four top-flight division titles and 66 caps for England.

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Ron Adams: He is the Ambassador of the State of Israel in Rwanda. Adams is the first resident ambassador of Israel in Rwanda.

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Niklas Adalberth: Swedish entrepreneur and founder of Norrsken.

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Jeremy Jauncey: Founder & CEO of Beautiful Destinations, an award-winning nation branding agency.

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Otara Gunewardene: Sri Lankan businessperson and philanthropist.

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Ronan Donovan: National Geographic photographer and filmmaker.

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Louis van Gaal: Former Dutch football manager and player. At club level, he served as manager of Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, as well as spent two spells in charge of the Netherlands national team.

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Naomi Campbell: English supermodel, actress, and businesswoman.

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Madeleine Nyiratuza: Programme Specialist, Sustainable Growth Unit, UNDP Rwanda. She is also responsible for the conservation and restoration of the Gishwati Forest Reserve which led to the creation of Gishwati Mukura National Park.

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Sherrie Silver: Actress and choreographer. She won an MTV VMA Award for Best Choreography for choreographing Childish Gambino's 'This Is America'.

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Marco Lambertini: Director-General, World Wildlife Fund International (WWF), where he is tasked with driving the achievement of the global conservation organization's critical mission to save life on Earth and to lead the secretariat team.

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Emmanuel Niringiyimana: The 23-year-old built a 2km-road on his own to facilitate the movement of people and goods in his village in Karongi District.

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Shaffer Chimere Smith: Better known by his stage name Ne-Yo, he is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and dancer. Ne-Yo will also headline a music concert tomorrow, Saturday, at the recently inaugurated Kigali Arena.

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Ngabo Médard Jobert: Better known as Meddy, he is a Rwandan RnB and pop artist. He will also perform at the much anticipated Kwita Izina concert at Kigali Arena on Saturday.

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