Tobago-born actor Winston Duke on Monday announced he has become a naturalized Rwandan citizen. According to Loop News, the 36-year-old Black Panther star confirmed his citizenship after retweeting a post from the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.
Duke also said his sister, Dr. Cindy Duke, has also been granted Rwandan citizenship. “Today is a truly auspicious and memorable day for me and my sister @DrCindyMDuke! It’s our continental birthday,” he stated. “We officially became naturalized Rwandan citizens! Our own personal #kwitaizina!”
During his visit to the African nation, Duke also partook in a gorilla baby naming ceremony known as Kwita Izina. He is said to have named one of the infants “Intarumikwa (Resilient Giant).”
Today is a truly auspicious and memorable day for me and my sister @DrCindyMDuke! It’s our continental birthday.— Winston Duke (@Winston_Duke) September 4, 2023
We officially became naturalized Rwandan citizens! Our own personal #kwitaizina!#namingceremony https://t.co/XGew4BMFMe
The actor wasn’t the only celebrity who attended the event. As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina also participated in the ceremony. The Kwita Izina naming ceremony is held in Kinigi, a small town nestled beneath imposing volcanoes, and it celebrates the naming of rare mountain gorillas. The event draws a diverse array of prominent figures from various fields, including activism, sports, politics, film, philanthropy, and fashion.
At this year’s naming ceremony, 23 baby gorillas received their names from notable individuals who attended in person. Actor Elba and his wife Sabrina named one gorilla “Narame,” symbolizing “long life.” Former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Bernard Lama chose “Ramba,” signifying “sustainable,” while local environmental activist Grace Ineza named a gorilla “Bigwi,” representing “achiever.”
British MP Andrew Mitchell attended the ceremony and named a baby gorilla “Mukundwa,” which translates to “favored.” Meanwhile, U.S. comedian Kevin Hart, who participated virtually, named one of the infants “Gakondo,” symbolizing “traditional.”
Kwita Izina is a Rwandan tradition of naming mountain gorillas, aimed at raising awareness and funds for their protection and habitat expansion. This ceremony has become a significant event for conservation in Rwanda, featuring activities like debates, fundraising events, exhibitions, and a conference.
Previously, rangers and researchers named gorillas, but now conservation champions and notable figures from around the world participate in Kwita Izina ceremonies, according to the Republic of Rwanda.
Celebrating these gorillas underscores the importance of conservation-based tourism and economic development while acknowledging the role of local communities in successful conservation efforts. President Paul Kagame emphasized the crucial cooperation and support of these communities in advancing conservation and development goals.