Rwanda: Kwita Izina - Kagame Commends Park Communities as 24 Gorillas Are Named

25 September 2020

As Rwanda marked its annual gorilla naming ceremony popularly known as Kwita Izina, President Paul Kagame took time to send special thanks to communities living around Volcanoes National Park for their collaboration in conservation work.

This was during the 16th edition of the naming ceremony, which, for the first time, was held virtually, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I commend the people living around the park for being good stewards of the natural environment and such warm hosts for our visitors," he said in his massage for the day.

At the event, 24 baby gorillas were named, thanks to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB)'s initiative to celebrate efforts aimed at preserving the environment and conserving the wildlife, particularly the endangered mountain gorillas.

"Conservation, tourism, and community development go hand in hand. Each reinforces the other," Kagame noted, as he joined local frontliners in conservation to name newborn gorillas.

This year, a special focus was given to rangers, trackers, vets, guides, and porters, who protect precious mountain gorillas, whom Kagame said their dedication is reflected in the 24 baby gorillas, receiving their names this year.

At least three Arsenal players made a special appearance while naming newborn mountain gorillas: Emerick Aubameyang, Bernd Leno, and Héctor Bellerín.

Rwanda and the popular English Premier League club have a three-year tourism partnership deal.

"Arsenal is a good partner in our effort to show the importance of conservation, and why visiting Rwanda is such a special experience," Kagame said.

"I also thank our partners in the hospitality industry who help make Rwanda a compelling destination. After a brief pause due to the Covid pandemic, Rwanda is once again open for visitors," he added.

The Head of State commended locals who tapped into the opportunity to enjoy domestic tourism as international tourism prospects decreased due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"I hope this will continue, even as our guests from abroad travel here to discover our country's attractions," he noted.

The 24 baby gorillas which were named come from 12 families of Agashya, Amahoro, Kuryama, Kwitonda, Igisha, Mafunzo, Muhoza, Musilikale, Mutobo, Pablo, Sabyinyo, and Urugwiro.

The newborn gorillas comprise of 15 males and nine female gorillas.

The named baby gorillas:

Amabwiriza (guidelines) - Umuhoza family

Nyiramajyambere (development) - Kwitonda family

Amarembo (gateway) - Kuryama family

Keep it up (Nkomezamihigo) - Mutobo family

Kazeneza (welcome) - Mutobo family

Uwacu (one of us) - Pablo family

Umuyobozi (leader) - Agashya family

Umuganga (doctor) - Agashya family

Ihogoza (cute) - Igisha family

Izabukuru (elderhood) - Sabyinyo family

Impinduka (change) - Amahoro family

Kororoka (prolific) - Musilikale family

Ubushobozi (capacity) - Kuryama family

Ishya (contentment) - Sabyinyo family

Ikamba (crown) - Muhoza family

Nkerabigwi (achiever) - Igisha family

Indiri (habitat) - Kuryama

Duhuze (unifier) - Musilikale

Isezerano (commitment) - Amahoro

Murengezi (rescuer) - Urugwiro

Umusanzu (contribution) - Igisha

Three Arsenal players named the new baby gorillas Igitego (goal), Iriza (firstborn), and Myugariro (defender).

"When you are the firstborn in the family, you feel a sense of responsibility. And it's our responsibility to look after wildlife," Hector Bellerin said after choosing Iriza as a name for the newborn gorilla.

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