What a great Month September has been! Although, it’s no wonder as September is a traditionally a celebratory month for Gorillas and this year in particular.
The 1st Friday in every September is marked as the end of one ‘Gorilla Year’ and the beginning of the next ‘Gorilla Year’ – a ‘Gorilla New Year’ so to speak. The new year is celebrated with the Kwita Izina Festival in Kinigi, where all of the baby Gorillas born in the previous year are named.
September 6th this year was the 15th edition of Kwita Izina and was graced by Rwanda President Paul Kagame as the guest of honour. Twenty Five baby Gorillas were named by a mix of celebrities, conservationists and philanthropists; here below, are just some of the names of the newborn gorillas and the people who named them.
1, ‘Ingando’ meaning ‘represents hope and a chance for sustainable tourism’. Gorilla family: Isimbi. Named by Jeremy Jauncey – Conservationist, Founder of Beautiful Destinations.
2, ‘Isanzure’ meaning ‘Gorillas should roam freely’. Gorilla family: Amahoro. Named by Madeleine Nyiratuza – Conservationist, driver of the Gishwati Forest Reserve restoration.
3, ‘Igihango’ meaning ‘A connection between humans and God and the unbreakable bond between the gorillas and their guardians’. Gorilla family: Sabyinyo. Named by Ron Adams – Israel Ambassador to Rwanda.
4, ‘Sura u Rwanda’ meaning ‘Visit Rwanda’ (After the Rwanda sponsorship of Arsenal). Gorilla family: Mafunzo. Named by Tony Adams – English football manager and Arsenal legend.
5, ‘Irembo’ meaning ‘A gateway’. Named by: Niklas Adalberth – founder of Norrsken Foundation.
6, ‘Inkoramutima’ – the name of a popular song in Rwanda. Gorilla family: Musirikare. Named by ‘Meddy’ – famous Rwandan musician.
7, ‘Intarutwa’ meaning ‘Excellence’. Gorilla family: Muhoza. Named by Naomi Campbell – Humanitarian, businesswoman and supermodel.
8, ‘Ibirori’ meaning ‘‘Celebration’. Gorilla family: Susa. Named by Sherrie Silver – Choreographer, actress, and humanitarian.
9, ‘Biracyaza’ meaning ‘Great things are coming’. Gorilla family: Kuryama. Named by Ne-Yo – American singer and songwriter.
10, ‘Inzobere’ meaning ‘Expert’. Gorilla family: Agashya. Named by Robert Twibaze – Rwanda senior tour guide.
Further on in the month, we had good reason to celebrate once again. On the 24th September, Mountain Gorillas were officially removed from the ‘Critically Endangered Species’ list, however they are still considered ‘endangered’ and conservation efforts must go on. This a wonderful tribute to the many stakeholders responsible for the conservation of Gorillas – well done and congratulations to all involved in their protection.The marvellous celebrations continued for us up at Sabinyo Silverback Lodge where we hosted two of the baby Gorilla namers for lunch; Otara and Sherry. Beautiful ladies, both of them – it was a great pleasure having them here!!
September was very busy in terms of guests, buzzing with a great atmosphere and warmth. We had an incredibly cold spell at the beginning of the month with Mount Karisimbi (4,507 meters) and Mt Mikeno (4,437 meters) both with snow for a period of three days!
On Friday 30th August, we celebrated our own internal ‘Rwanda Heritage Day’ – what a nice evening that was! It kicked off with a music recital with Inanga and Umadhuri, both are instruments from the ancient Kingdom of Rwanda. We had initially planned for this to be round a bonfire in our formal garden but as fortune would have, it rained and we had to abandon the garden for our main lounge area. No one’s spirits were dampened though! Our guests on that evening very much participated in the performance, dressing up in traditional ‘Kitengi’ (central African fabric) and dancing to the Rwanda rhythms and beats – courtesy of our homemade musical instruments such as cocktail shakers filled with dry roasted coffee beans! To finish off the day we all enjoyed a banquet of Rwandan style cuisine – well done to all the chefs!
From all of us here at Sabyinyo – Amahoro! We look forward to hosting you when you come to see the baby gorillas, which have been newly named this Gorilla New Year.
By Michael Hughes, manager at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
Post courtesy of Governors Camps