Kwita Izina – The Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda

kwita izina

The birth of a child in Rwanda goes beyond the ceremony to welcome the newly born. A special ceremony known as Kwita Izina refers to the traditional ceremony to name a newborn child in Rwanda. The ceremony involves family and close neighbors gathering to welcome the newborn child to the world and of course, the parents name the child. Food, drinks, and dancing highlight the event among traditional practices.

Due to the endangered state of mountain gorillas, in recent years, Kwita Izina traditional naming ceremony has been applied to the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Names are carefully picked by the park rangers that spend most of their time with these gorillas. Among the factors considered while picking a name include; the behavior, circumstances, and background of the newborn gorillas. Kwita Izina was always privately done not until June 2005, when the first publicly organized traditional naming ceremony was held in Kiningi at the Mountain Gorillas Nest Hotel. Kwita Izina from then has been part of the Rwandese Culture and happens each year between mid and late June, but this year (2022), the ceremony has been set to happen on the 2nd September 2022. The event features traditional music, dancing, and naming of all newly born gorillas in the past 12 months.

Visitors from across the world are welcome to attend the Kwita Izina, any tour operator in Rwanda or Uganda can easily fit it into your itinerary. The event also contributes to the conservation of these gentle apes as valuable funds are raised for the protection of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. There is a special program to adopt a gorilla and make a special contribution to the animal’s welfare. The ORTPN, a special government body in charge of tourism in Rwanda is open to welcoming guests interested in tickets or sponsorships.

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