Prince Charles, football legends Drogba, Gilberto, celebrities, among baby gorilla names – KT PRESS
Two days remain for Kwita Izina, or the gorilla naming ceremony, Rwanda’s largest annual tourism event, and a list of 20 dignitaries and celebrities attending this year’s edition has been announced.
Among them is the Prince of Wales, Charles Philip, who will virtually name the baby gorilla on September 2nd. The rest will be physically present.
Celebrities set to christen baby gorillas during this year’s ceremony include former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva, former Paris Saint-Germain FC Juan Pablo Sorin and Chelsea FC legend Didier Drogba.
According to the organizers, the legends join other famous football legends from both clubs who have given their name to a young mountain gorilla over the past four years as part of Visit Rwanda partnership agreements with clubs based in Europe.
Dignitaries who will also give physical names to the baby gorillas include Stewart Maginnis, Deputy Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Salma Mukansanga, International Soccer Referee, Youssou N’Dour, an artist best known for the West African music genre as Mbalax, and Lorrene Powell, the founder and chair of EmCollective.
Also Frank Ian Luntz, a United States political advisor, pollster and pundit best known for creating talking points and other messages for Republican causes, Itzhak Fisher, Israeli businessman and founder and general partner of Pereg Ventures, and Naomi Schiff, a Rwandan-Belgian racing driver and TV presenter.
This year marks the 18th edition of Kwita Izina and will ensure a safe return to the foothills of Volcanoes National Park and join the communities living around the home of the endangered mountain gorillas in the ultimate celebration of nature and conservation to celebrate.
The event includes a naming ceremony for 20 baby mountain gorillas born in the park in the last 12 months. And since the naming ceremony began in 2005, 354 baby gorillas have been named so far.
Also among the namesakes are Neri Bukspan, Managing Director, Standard and Poor’s Credit Market Service, award-winning American actor Uzo Aduba and Thomas Milz, Board Member, Sales and Marketing of the Volkswagen Group.
Also Kaddu Sebunya, Chief Executive Officer of the African Wildlife Foundation, Scottish billionaire and philanthropist, Sir Ian Clark Wood, Dr. Cindy Descalzi Pereira, philanthropist and Chair of Global Events Africa, and Moses Turahirwa, famous for taking Rwanda’s fashion beyond its borders.
Louise Mushikiwabo, the fourth and current Secretary General of the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie, will be among the namesakes.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Chief Executive Officer Clare Akamanzi says this year’s Kwita Izina will be a celebration of conservation and the return of tourism.
“We are delighted to be back in Kinigi in Rwanda’s Northern Province, close to the habitat of these majestic creatures for Kwita Izina, two years after our last in-person ceremony. Initiatives like the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony play an important role in protecting the gorillas. Thanks to Rwanda’s conservation efforts, we have enhanced the gorilla trekking experience for our visitors and increased support to local communities through our tourism revenue sharing program,” Akamanzi said in a statement released Aug. 31.
“We are also pleased to celebrate the safe return of tourism to Rwanda after handling the Covid-19 pandemic well. We look forward to continuing to protect our natural heritage, delivering world-class experiences that highlight Rwanda’s diverse natural beauty, while ensuring that tourism and conservation benefit Rwandans,” she added.
The Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony is based on a centuries-old tradition of Rwandans naming their children in the presence of family and friends. Three decades before the first official gorilla naming ceremony, park rangers and researchers named Rwanda’s mountain gorilla babies to monitor each gorilla in its family and habitat.
In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas in what has become a global celebration of nature. By naming these majestic animals they are given the value they undoubtedly deserve.
The ceremony is primarily an opportunity to thank the communities living around the gorilla habitat, Volcanoes National Park, research partners, veterinarians, dedicated conservationists and rangers who protect the gorillas on a daily basis.
Kwita Izina is now part of an ambitious plan to protect Rwanda’s natural heritage and increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s development. Following the naming ceremony, Rwandans from all walks of life are now recognizing the intrinsic value of the gorillas and their importance to the country’s economy. Rwandans now guard the gorillas.
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