Celebrating Kwita Izina: The Baby Mountain Gorilla Naming Ceremony of Rwanda

Baby mountain gorilla

Baby mountain gorilla, image credit Rwanda Tourism

In the 1990s, Rwanda was primarily associated with the catastrophic upheaval of its war and genocide. But for the past ten years, Rwanda has been making the news for other reasons: the conservation efforts to save the region’s mountain gorillas. In 2003, the government made official a celebration that Banyarwandas — Rwandanas — had been celebrating for decades: a naming ceremony for baby gorillas. Called Kwita Izina, which translates to “to give a name” and is a centuries-old tradition for naming human babies, the celebration highlights the nation’s efforts to save a highly endangered species and promotes Rwanda as a tourist destination. Read more