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Rwanda’s baby gorillas: What’s in a name?

Prof. Wolfgang H. Thome, Ph.D., eTN Africa Correspondent  Sep 16, 2015

Ten days ago, Rwanda was getting ready to celebrate the climax of the Kwita Izina 11-week program with the naming of the young born gorillas outside the Volcanoes National Park headquarters in Kinigi.
Much has been asked about the names of those gorilla babies.

Maurice Twahirwa, the man in charge at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) for PR and publicity, yesterday shared the details with this correspondent. So here are the names and the meaning of those names. Enjoy the read:


Means “Famous.” This name is to highlight that the Susa gorilla group has become famous because of its characteristic of having recorded the first survived gorilla twins.

Ikifuzo can be translated as a “wish.” This name was proposed to express their wish of having the Susa group retake its characteristic of being the biggest group of the Volcanoes National Park after several splits which left the former Susa currently comprised of 4 gorilla families.

Urakoze means “Thank you.” This name was proposed to express their gratitude to Ruvumu , the mother who is contributing to the growth of the group by giving birth to this infant after only 2 years when she gave birth to a couple of twins.

Means “Conviviality.” This name was chosen to highlight the role of tourism industry, especially gorilla-based tourism in international relations, bringing many foreigners to visit the region; but most importantly because of its contribution to expanding tourism benefits among the community, cooperatives, and the private sector such as hotels, travel companies, etc.

The name can be translated into English as “Ornament.” Mountain gorillas are considered an ornament to Rwanda’s natural beauty.

The name Imbaraga can be translated as “Power.” This name was selected to mention that gorillas constitute another economic power that was given to Rwanda.

Indangamirwa means something which makes people curious. The name is proposed to mention the fact that gorillas make people curious, and they come from all over the world to visit Rwanda and its gorillas.

This means collaboration. It is symbolic of the transboundary collaboration between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda where the 3 countries work together to preserve the mountain gorillas.

Ububasha means “Power, strength.” This name was chosen because of the outstanding efforts the Rwanda government has shown in conserving biodiversity, especially mountain gorillas, and the tireless support that grassroots authorities have given to park management. It suggests that Uganda can make its parks role models for successful multi-stakeholder conservation areas.

Zirakamwa can be translated as “a milk productive cow.” This name is proposed to refer to an old slogan that was used to encourage people to promote peace by allowing gorillas to be productive and contribute to their wellbeing by generating income or foreign currency for the Rwandan economy.

Inkunga can be translated as “support.” The name was chosen to emphasize that gorilla conservation still needs various types of support to sustain it for future generations. The road to be walked is long, and there are still many challenges to overcome. This call is to remind all people and organizations to continue their dedication.

Ingingo means the main support or key sustaining factor. This name is proposed to recognize the fact that wildlife conservation is the priority of the government of Rwanda. The name was chosen to acknowledge the return of lions in Akagera, the creation of Gishwati-Mukura Park, and many other achievements.

Rwanda’s baby gorillas: What’s in a name?

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