Thousands of Rwandans, conservation partners, special guests and friends of Rwanda gathered at Kinigi, Musanze, in the foothills of Volcanoes National Park to celebrate the 15th Kwita Izina baby gorilla naming ceremony.
The 25 baby gorillas named are members of the Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Igisha, Isimbi, Muhoza, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Susa, Pablo, Kuryama, Mafunzo, Kureba, Musirikali and Ntambara groups.
Some of the Kwita Izina Gorilla Baby Namers include:
Jeremy Jauncey, founder and CEO of Beautiful Destinations named a baby gorilla from the Isimbi family, ‘Ingando’ which represents ‘opportunity for the future and hope for a better world’.
Naomi Campbell, English supermodel, actress, and businesswoman named a baby gorilla from the Muhoza family, ‘Intarutwa’ which translates to ‘excellent’ in Kinyarwanda.
Madeleine Nyiratuza, Programme Specialist, Sustainable Growth Unit at UNDP Rwanda, named a baby gorilla from the Amahoro family, ‘Isanzure’ noting that the name means that gorillas should be allowed to roam freely.
Tony Alexander Adams MBE, an English football legend named a baby gorilla from the Mafunzo family, ‘Sura’urwanda’ which translates to ‘Visit Rwanda’, symbolizing the partnership Rwanda has with English football club, Arsenal.
Louis Van Gaal, Dutch former football manager and player named a baby gorilla from the Hirwa family, ‘Indongozi’ which means ‘leader’.
His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe: Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia named a baby from the Pablo family ‘Umukuru’ as a tribute to Mutware, the oldest elephant in Akagera National Park that died last year.
Ronan Donovan, National Geographic photographer and filmmaker named a baby gorilla from the Kwitonda family. The name was chosen after National Geographic opened the naming process to their social media followers. The name that was chosen was ‘Intego’ which means ‘purpose’.
Emmanuel Niringiyimana, a young Rwandan who built a road on his own to facilitate the movement of people and goods in his village in Karongi District named a baby gorilla from the Igisha family, ‘Mugwire’.
Paul Milton, the founder of Milton Group who developed the Singita Kwitonda Lodge on behalf of investors Paul Tudor Jones, Anders Povlsen and Luke Bailes, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Singita, named a baby from the Pablo family, ‘Inararibonye’ which means ‘wise and experienced’ in Kinyarwanda.
Dame Louise Martin, DBE, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Patricia Scotland, named a baby gorilla from the Igisha family, ‘Uruti’ which means ‘the highest recognition of heroism’ and ‘Nazarian’ which means ‘the one who loves and initiates peace among the communities’.
Award-winning Rwandan Professional cyclist, Joseph Areruya named a baby gorilla from the Amahoro family, ‘Inganji’ meaning long life.
Marco Lambertini, Director General of World Wildlife Fund for Nature named a baby gorilla from the Kwitonda family, ‘Ikirenga’ which means ‘Exceptional’.
Sherrie Silver, Actress and choreographer, named a baby gorilla from the Susa family, ‘Ibirori’ which means ‘celebration’.
Amina Mohammed: Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and formerly the Federal Minister of the Environment of Nigeria. She named a baby from the Umubano family, ‘Ingoga’ which means courage in Kinyarwanda.