So, the seventh Kwita Izina has now come to an end, and what an exciting few days it has been! It was so inspiring to see so many people come together to celebrate these latest additions to Rwanda’s mountain gorilla population.
After the serious nature of the opening day’s conference, where delegates investigated ways to work with the communities living on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park to protect the endangered gorillas, it was time to party. And what better way to celebrate our remarkable forest-dwelling cousins than to ‘baptise’ 22 of the babies born over the past 12 months names in traditional a Rwandan ceremony?
Rwanda’s prime minister Bernard Makuza, as well as the Dutch ambassador to the country and various conservation group heads were among those naming the new gorillas. So, from now on, the Gorilla Organization will be keeping an eye on Indamutso (meaning ‘greetings’ in Kinywarwanda), Urahirwa (meaning ‘prospects’) and Sakaara (meaning ‘known everywhere’). Also, I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear that the twins born to Kabatwa back in February were given the names Isangano (or ‘meeting place) and Isango (‘appointment’).
Once the actual naming ceremony had come to an end, the crowd of thousands, drawn from the communities living on the edge of the protected gorilla habitat and joined by government officials and numerous visiting dignitaries, were treated to a concert of dance and live music.
Here are a few pictures from this great weekend and let’s hope we’ll be naming even more mountain gorilla babies this time next year…