This is a Rwandan ceremony of giving names to newly born baby gorillas. These Gorillas are named after the ancestral baby naming ceremony that happened after the birth of a newborn in African tradition life. The naming ceremony has been part of the Rwandan tradition for centuries and so still continues. The name Kwita Izna was unveiled in April 2007 as the new brand name for the Gorilla naming Ceremony. It just means naming a new born gorilla in the family.
This ceremony is done in a cultural way since also the Gorillas share with human beings 98% of the genes and about a third of the world’s total mountain gorilla’s population live in Rwanda. Because of this the office of the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Park (ORTPN) and the Rwandan local community found it important to extend their traditional culture by naming each new born baby to the Gorillas as well.
The main objective for organizing this event by the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Park every year is to help in monitoring each individual Gorilla and their groups within their natural habitat. At first, this ceremony was created as a means of bringing attention both locally and internationally about the importance of protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitats in the Virunga Mountains in the north of the country.
In the past 3 decades, the ceremony has been used to give names to new born gorillas. These names attributed to the Gorillas play a great part in the program of monitoring of each individual and Gorilla groups in its habitat. It was first attended internally by the ORTPN and its partners and the field’s staff or rangers. However, ORTPN launched the annual Gorilla naming Ceremony in 2005 as a means of raising awareness at both the national and international level about protection of the Mountain Gorillas in their natural Habitat.
In each year the ceremony is celebrated, it is given a major theme and in 2005, the theme was “Ensure the Future of the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda", in 2006 the theme was "Recognize the Role of the International Tourists who Selected Rwanda as Destination" and in 2007, the theme was “Caring for Wildlife Concerns Us All”. In 2008, the theme for the 4th ceremony was “Working together to conserve our Wildlife” and 20 Gorillas were named.
The 5th Ceremony was in 2009 and 18 new Gorillas were named. This year’s Kwita Izna ceremony coincides with the “International Year of the Gorillas,” proclaimed by the United Nations. The Gorilla Naming campaign is basically aimed at ensuring the future of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and provides an opportunity for all those who care about the mountain gorillas
Kwita Izna is celebrated each year and specific dates for the ceremony are chosen at the beginning of the year.