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Kwita Izina, the uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts of the endangered mountain gorilla. For three decades prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the naming of newborn gorillas was carried out with little awareness amidst the public or the rangers and researchers that closely monitor these unique animals on a daily basis.

The Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony has been attended by many thousands of international, regional and local visitors over recent years. For decades, international conservation organizations, donors and concerned individuals have donated substantial resources to the gorilla conservation cause and continue to do so. Each year newborn gorilla babies are celebrated in an exciting event at the foot of the Virunga Mountains.

During this year’s ceremony, Mashirika was commissioned to provide edutainment services which was done successfully. Mashirika’s magic performance started with a newly created theme song for Kwita Izina, this was accompanied by a short skit entitled “Imari Ishyushe” loosely translated as a hot deal.  This piece carried a message about the need to conserve gorillas since their existence is of great economic value to the local people mainly next to the Virunga mountains which is the home for gorillas and the country at large.  The play was followed by the unveiling of number 10 which symbolized a decade since when Kwita Izina (Gorilla naming) was initiated and this was followed by acrobatics and energetic contemporary dances.  Mashirika left the audience yearning for more. 

By Samuel Kyagambiddwa. 

 

 

Mashirika's mission is to prove that performing arts is not only entertainment but a tool of social transformation and source of employment.