Danai Gurira paid a touching tribute to her friend and castmate Chadwick Boseman on the third anniversary of his death during the 19th gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina, celebrating the new 23 baby gorillas born in the past year, which took place on Friday, September 1.
Gurira, who portrayed Okoye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's 'Black Panther' films, chose a name that resonates deeply with both her African heritage and the memory of Chadwick Boseman.
She christened a male baby gorilla from the Mutobo family, whose mother goes by the name Ishyaka. The name she selected for this infant gorilla is 'Aguka T'Challa,' with 'Aguka' meaning "expansion".
"It is an utter honour to be here today."@DanaiGurira chose the name "Aguka T'Challa" for a gorilla, meaning "Expansion" as a tribute to the infant's mother and the late @ChadwickBoseman whose love and appreciation for Africa shines brightly in the legacy he left behind. pic.twitter.com/UBEqVE5fpP-- Kwita Izina (@Kwitaizina) September 2, 2023
Explaining her choice, Gurira expressed her admiration for Ishyaka's role in expanding the Mutobo family and her heartfelt tribute to T'Challa, the King of Wakanda, during this special week commemorating the legacy of Boseman. Boseman tragically passed away on August 28, 2020, at the age of 43, succumbing to colon cancer.
Gurira, a Zimbabwean-American actress and playwright, gained fame for her compelling performances as Okoye in the 'Black Panther' films and as Michonne in the AMC horror drama series, 'The Walking Dead.'
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During her speech at the Kwita Izina ceremony, Gurira acknowledged Rwanda's remarkable efforts to protect its wildlife, she said: "Rwanda has embarked on a remarkable and impressive journey to safeguard wildlife and their inhabitants for generations to come. And it is an honour to be a part of this, this work, we all know, is not easy. And I am inspired and aspiring now by the achievements thus far, including this incredible ceremony."
In closing, Gurira eagerly anticipated a visit to baby Aguka T'Challa and his family in Volcanoes National Park, where she can witness first-hand the journey of Rwanda's dedication to safeguarding wildlife.