17 June, 2011

Celebrate Kwita Izina with Rwandans

One of my, few, most favorite African countries is Rwanda: not only because I have always deeply sympathized with the country due to the genocide; not only because Kigali is the cleanest city in East Africa and one of the cleanest in Africa; not only because Rwanda is one of the least corrupt countries in Africa; not only because I am an avid admirer and supporter of President Paul Kagame; I have another reason to be very concerned with Rwanda: gorillas.

These great apes, who share 99% of their genes with us humans, are rapidly declining in numbers; and are listed as critically endangered; but, there is a place that these very rare creatures are very well protected and are multiplying in numbers. In Rwanda: A latest census put the number of Gorillas to 480 from 380 indicating a 26.3 percent increase in last seven years. All along this week, Rwandans, lead by their president, are celebrating this incredible success in caring for these mountain gorillas.

This Saturday, June the 18th, the last and main event will be held: The Gorilla Naming ceremony. Kwita Izina (literally “Naming”) is a Rwandan traditional ceremony held to welcome a child both into his/her family and into the community. Neighbors, family and friends are gathered in a festive ceremony by the parents bring out the child and reveal what name they have chosen for the child. This year will be bigger and better, naming 22 baby gorillas born during the past year. Yes: 22 baby gorillas - which includes two sets of twins, born in the last one year, will be named (one set of the twins will be named on Saturday and the other next year). What an achievement! What a feat! I congratulate the leaders and people of Rwanda on this occasion. And I too, am celebrating.

+ Rwanda Tourism
+ National Geographic
+ Gorillasorg
+ Defenders
+ Worldwildlife

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