John Kani
John Kani.png
Biographical information
Full name

Bonisile John Kani


August 20, 1943


New Brighton, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Career information

Actor, director, playwright




The Lion King (2019 film)

It’s unbelievable. Disney has outdone themselves with Jon Favreau the director. I can’t say more, it’s going to be magic, this new technology of making animation so real. I was saying to my wife, 'I hope I don’t look like that monkey.'
―John Kani on being a part of The Lion King[1]

John Kani is an actor, director, and playwright. He voices Rafiki in the 2019 remake of The Lion King.


Kani performed with the acting troupe the Serpent Players (named for the former snake pit at a zoo in which they first performed) in 1965, during which time he contributed to the conception of many plays that were performed, but not published. He later co-wrote two more famous plays: Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island.

Since then, Kani has starred in numerous films and television series. Some of the more prominent titles include Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Sarafina!.


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