Rafiki presented Simba, the prince heir of Pride Rock, to the animals of the Pride Lands. Later, when Scar assumed the throne, Rafiki grieved the purported deaths of Simba and his father, Mufasa. Seasons afterward, Rafiki realized that Simba was in fact alive and full-grown, and so he journeyed to the jungle in an effort to bring the young prince home. With some persuasion from Rafiki, as well as the appearance of Mufasa's spirit, Simba returned home and reclaimed his birthright.
Later, Mufasa's spirit instructed Rafiki to unite Simba's daughter, Kiara, with Scar's protégé, Kovu. Rafiki ultimately succeeded, as Kiara and Kovu fell in love and helped unify the Outsiders and the Pride Landers.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 Meeting Timon
- 1.3 Simba's presentation
- 1.4 Mufasa's death
- 1.5 Encounter with Ma
- 1.6 Simba's return to the Pride Lands
- 1.7 Battle of Pride Rock
- 1.8 Simba's coronation
- 1.9 Kiara's presentation
- 1.10 Makini's apprenticeship
- 1.11 Dawn of the Lion Guard
- 1.12 Bunga the Wise
- 1.13 Ono's injury
- 1.14 Kupatana
- 1.15 Bunga's cobra bite
- 1.16 Tale of Nala's father
- 1.17 Tale of the Zimwi
- 1.18 Tale of the Outsiders
- 1.19 Savannah Summit
- 1.20 Start of Makini's training
- 1.21 Disturbed by Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha
- 1.22 Ukumbusho
- 1.23 Kenge's attack
- 1.24 Tale of Christmas
- 1.25 Drought
- 1.26 Attacked by the Army of Scar
- 1.27 Kumbuka
- 1.28 Consultation with Kongwe
- 1.29 Training Bunga in combat
- 1.30 Makini's mpando mpaya
- 1.31 Battle for the Pride Lands
- 1.32 Lion Guard's trip to the Tree of Life
- 1.33 Reunification of the Outsiders and Pride Landers
- 1.34 Battle of the Lion Guards
- 1.35 Kion's coronation
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
Rafiki lived in the Pride Lands. At some point in his life, he became the kingdom's Royal Mjuzi. As per tradition, he planted a baobab tree in Mizimu Grove. Additionally, he befriended Mufasa, the king of the Pride Lands.
After Timon abandoned his colony, he strayed into the Pride Lands and stopped beneath Rafiki's tree. There, he had an emotional breakdown and wondered aloud where he should go. Just then, Rafiki hung down from the branches of his tree and answered that it depended on what Timon was seeking. Shocked at Rafiki's sudden appearance, Timon fell over and demanded to know where the mandrill had come from. Rafiki merely asked where Timon was going. The meerkat replied that he wanted to find a "beautiful" and "carefree" place where he did not have to "hide" or "worry," and Rafiki declared that Timon was seeking "Hakuna Matata."
Timon requested that Rafiki draw him a map in the dirt, but Rafiki merely hit him on the head with his bakora staff and told him to "look beyond" what he saw. Though Timon asked for clarification, Rafiki merely repeated his original statement. A confused Timon overlooked the savanna and spotted Pride Rock in the distance. He asked Rafiki if that was where he was meant to go, but the mandrill had already disappeared.
The next morning, Rafiki journeyed to Pride Rock for the presentation of Simba. Once there, he climbed Pride Rock and hugged Mufasa. Afterward, the two walked over to where Sarabi was holding Simba. Rafiki knelt beside the cub and shook his gourds over Simba's head, which caused the cub to bat playfully at them. Rafiki then took a gourd, ripped it in half, dipped his thumb in the juice, and marked Simba's forehead. Afterward, Rafiki took Simba into his arms and carried him to the promontory, where he lifted the cub into the air for all the Pride Landers to see. The animals immediately erupted into cheers and bowed before their future king.
After Simba's birth, Rafiki painted him on the trunk of his tree.
After the death of Mufasa, Scar informed the pride that both Mufasa and Simba had perished in a stampede. He then allowed the hyenas to enter the Pride Lands. This greatly saddened Rafiki, who mourned the situation and smeared his painting of Simba.
Encounter with Ma
Rafiki met with Timon's mother and explained to her that he had told Timon to seek "Hakuna Matata" by looking beyond what he saw. This enraged Ma, who hit Rafiki with his bakora staff and yelled at him for "using a metaphor" on Timon. She then urged Uncle Max to leave with her in search of Timon. Before the two left, Rafiki offered Ma some advice: "Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." In answer, Ma claimed that she was about to take her first step, after which she purposefully stomped on Rafiki's foot.
Simba's return to the Pride Lands
Seasons after Scar's ascension to the throne, Rafiki was sitting in his tree when he caught a fistful of milkweed floss that Simba had touched. The mandrill sniffed the milkweed floss curiously, then put it into a turtle shell. Eventually, after he took a moment to study the milkweed floss, he recognized the scent as belonging to Simba and incredulously proclaimed that Simba was alive. He then painted a mane on his drawing of Simba and declared, "It is time!"
Rafiki journeyed to the jungle, where he encountered a full-grown Simba. While Simba sulked in the grasslands, Rafiki danced and sang in a nearby tree. This annoyed Simba and prompted him to walk away from Rafiki until he was staring down at his reflection in a pool of water. However, Rafiki disturbed the water by throwing a rock at it, and Simba asked Rafiki to "cut it out." In response, Rafiki quipped, "Can't cut it out. It will grow right back!"
Simba stalked off, with Rafiki in pursuit. Annoyed, Simba called Rafiki "creepy" and demanded to know who he was. Instead of answering Simba, Rafiki asked the young lion who he was. Distressed, Simba replied that he had once known the answer but was not so sure anymore. Rafiki claimed to know who Simba was but insisted that it was a secret. However, when Simba leaned in close to hear the answer, Rafiki merely began to sing his chant again. Simba asked what the chant meant, and Rafiki explained that it meant that Simba was a baboon, while Rafiki himself was not.
Bemused, Simba remarked that Rafiki was confused, but the mandrill reminded him that he did not even know who he was. Simba sarcastically wondered if Rafiki knew who he was, and Rafiki confirmed that he did and called Simba "Mufasa's boy." An incredulous Simba turned around and stared at Rafiki, but the mandrill simply dashed away. Simba frantically called for Rafiki to wait and chased him across the grasslands until he found the mandrill sitting on a rock, cross-legged and in a meditative posture. Simba asked Rafiki if he had known his father, but Rafiki corrected him, claiming that he still knew Mufasa. Saddened by the comment, Simba explained that Mufasa had died a long time ago, but Rafiki insisted that Mufasa was still alive and that he could show Simba for himself.
With an urge for Simba to follow him, Rafiki raced away into an area of dense jungle. Simba followed him until the mandrill held up a hand and prompted the young lion to stop running. He then instructed Simba to look into a nearby pool of water. Simba did as commanded, only to see his own reflection staring back at him. He explained to Rafiki that it was only his reflection, but Rafiki urged him to look harder and claimed that Mufasa lived on inside him. At Rafiki's words, Mufasa's spirit appeared in the heavens and commanded Simba to return home and reclaim his birthright.
After Mufasa's spirit vanished, Rafiki commented on the strange weather, and Simba remarked that the "winds" were changing. Rafiki posited that change was good, but Simba commented that it was not easy and that he would have difficulty facing his past since he had been running from it for so long. Suddenly, Rafiki whacked Simba with his bakora staff, and the lion demanded to know why he had hit him. A cheeky Rafiki simply stated that the action was "in the past." Simba reminded Rafiki that he was still in pain, and Rafiki agreed that the past could hurt but that one could either run from it or learn from it. He started to swing at Simba again, but this time, the lion ducked out of the staff's way, and Rafiki laughed happily at Simba's victory.
Rafiki asked Simba what he was going to do, and the lion said that he was first going to take Rafiki's "stick." Before Rafiki could stop him, Simba grabbed the bakora staff in his teeth and tossed it into the grass. Rafiki ran after it and picked it up, only to turn around and see Simba running away. The mandrill demanded to know where Simba was going, and the lion replied that he was returning home. At this, Rafiki whooped and cheered.
After Simba's departure, Rafiki informed Timon, Pumbaa, and Nala that the "king" had "returned." Timon and Pumbaa were confused and even mistook Rafiki to be Simba's uncle, but after several explanations, Nala managed to clear the misunderstanding. Though Nala and Pumbaa were quick to follow Simba to the Pride Lands, Timon stayed behind, as he wanted to continue living a "Hakuna Matata" lifestyle. Rafiki soon appeared to him, and Timon began to angrily impersonate Rafiki. As Rafiki, Timon claimed that he was miserable because his friends had left him and taken "Hakuna Matata" with them. This inspired the meerkat to follow Simba, Nala, and Pumbaa to the Pride Lands. After Timon's departure, Rafiki commented, "My work here is done."
Battle of Pride Rock
After Simba and his allies emerged victorious, Rafiki prompted the young lion to take his place as the rightful king. Just before Simba ascended Pride Rock, Rafiki bowed to him, only for Simba to draw him into a hug. The two embraced, after which Rafiki took Simba by the shoulders and said, "It is time." Simba then ascended Pride Rock and roared over his kingdom.
One morning, Rafiki called the Pride Landers to Pride Rock to witness the presentation of Simba and Nala's daughter, Kiara. He was soon joined on the promontory by Simba and Nala, who was holding an infant Kiara by her scruff. Rafiki took the cub into his arms, then held her up for all the Pride Landers to see. Afterward, he marked her forehead and allowed her parents to nuzzle her affectionately. Though Timon and Pumbaa mistook the cub for a boy, Rafiki chuckled and informed them that Kiara was a girl, to their shock.
When Makini was an infant, her parents brought her to Rafiki at the Tree of Life. There, he received affirmation from the voices of the past and so accepted her as his apprentice. Even so, Janna predicted that Makini would ultimately serve the Tree of Life, not the Pride Lands.
Dawn of the Lion Guard
Later, Rafiki was on Pride Rock with Simba and Nala when they heard Kion use the Roar of the Elders for the first time. This made Rafiki and Simba realize that it was time for Kion to become the leader of the Lion Guard. Though Simba was initially reluctant, Rafiki insisted that it was time and that Simba had to inform his son about the situation.
Kion and Bunga soon returned to Pride Rock, and Rafiki urged Simba to tell Kion about the Lion Guard. Together, the four entered the Lair of the Lion Guard, where Rafiki explained that Scar had led the Lion Guard until he had used the Roar for evil and, as a result, been stripped of his powers forever. Simba then tasked Kion with gathering a new Lion Guard to protect the Pride Lands.
Bunga the Wise
After Bunga came up with an easy solution to fix a leaky dam, Rafiki approached and started to compliment honey badgers on their wisdom. However, he trailed off when he accidentally dropped the fruit he was carrying. Bunga did not wait for Rafiki to finish and proclaimed that he was the smartest animal in the Pride Lands.
After the Pride Lands was saved from the dam, which had burst because of Bunga's hasty solution, the Lion Guard relaxed at a new water hole that had been created by the floodwaters. While there, Rafiki warned Bunga not to bask in a patch of flowers. Scoffing, Bunga reminded Rafiki that he had called him the wisest animal in the Pride Lands, but Rafiki stated that honey badgers were only smart when they thought things through. As Rafiki had warned, Bunga's basking spot turned out to be a puddle of mud. Despite the mistake, Bunga admitted that he could live with not being the smartest.
When Ono got injured on the job, the Lion Guard brought him to Rafiki. After examining Ono, Rafiki constructed him an eye patch and instructed him to stay out of action for three days.
Later, Rafiki attempted to paint a picture of the Lion Guard, but it kept turning out wrong. In the midst of the painting session, Beshte rushed up to his friends with bad news, and the Lion Guard was forced to leave. Ono, who had been left behind, comforted Rafiki on his painting, reassuring him that his new painting looked just like the others. This made Rafiki realize that Kion's Lion Guard was not like the others, for they were not just teammates; they were friends. He thanked Ono for his help, and Ono realized that he must help his friends no matter his condition. With a hasty goodbye to Rafiki, Ono flew off to rejoin his team.
After the mission, the Lion Guard returned to Rafiki, who had redone the painting so that Kion was among his friends, not just his teammates. Ono complimented the mandrill's work, and Rafiki commented that such words meant a lot to him, as they came from the Keenest of Sight.
Rafiki attended Kupatana, where he opened the peace ceremony along with Simba, Nala, Kiara, and Kion. After Simba made a brief speech, Rafiki stepped forward and announced that it was time. As soon as he had spoken, the baobab flowers bloomed and scattered their petals.
Bunga's cobra bite
When Bunga was bitten by the venomous Ushari, the Lion Guard rushed him to Rafiki. Despite Bunga's theatrical behavior, Rafiki proclaimed that he would do nothing for him, as honey badgers were immune to snake bites.
Tale of Nala's father
Rafiki painted in the Lair of the Lion Guard. While the mandrill was distracted, Bunga stole his bakora staff and played around with the paintings. Later, while showing the paintings to Beshte, Bunga spotted a painting of a lion, whom he assumed was Kion. After bringing the painting to life and watching as "Kion" fell from a tree, Bunga believed that the paintings predicted the future and that Kion was in danger. On his way out of the Lair, Bunga threw Rafiki's bakora staff on top of his paints, which spilled them across the cave.
Later, Rafiki explained the story of each painting, including the one of "Kion." He clarified that the painting in fact depicted a tale about Nala's father, who had fallen from a tree and been saved by the Lion Guard of his day. Rafiki then tasked Bunga with cleaning up the spilled paints.
Tale of the Zimwi
A group of young animals gathered at Rafiki's tree for a story about the Zimwi, a legendary creature that stalked the Pride Lands during the full moon. To the young ones' horror, Bunga pointed out that the moon was full that night, and Rafiki warned the group that they may soon hear the Zimwi's call.
Rafiki went on to describe the Zimwi as being an eight-legged creature that was as tall as two giraffes and had long spikes and large teeth. Though the other young animals were frightened by Rafiki's story, Kion scoffed at the notion of the Zimwi being anything more than a tall tale. Rafiki bid the young ones good night and warned them to not let the Zimwi bite.
Tale of the Outsiders
In the Lair of the Lion Guard, Fuli beat Ono in a race, and Ono refused to race her again. Bunga asked Beshte and Rafiki if they would race Fuli instead, but they both refused. Rafiki then questioned who would be foolish enough to challenge the Fastest in the Pride Lands to a race.
Just then, the mandrill noticed that Kion was missing, and Bunga explained that Kion had gone into the Outlands with Jasiri to help deal with a pride of lions. Horrified, Rafiki informed the Lion Guard that Kion had encountered the Outsiders.
Rafiki took the friends to a wall of paintings and explained that Simba had banished the Outsiders to the Outlands after they had retained loyalties to Scar. Zira had insisted that her son, Kovu, be the king since he was Scar's chosen heir, but Simba had asserted that Scar had never been the rightful king. This had caused Zira to attack Simba, but he had defeated her easily, then banished her to the Outlands with her family. Rafiki warned the Lion Guard that there would be trouble if Zira found out that Kion was Simba's son. The team promptly took off to save their friend.
While patrolling the Pride Lands in honor of the Savannah Summit, the Lion Guard heard Zazu squawking for help. They followed the noise to where Rafiki was attempting to paint a portrait of the baboon leader and Mbeya, who was sitting atop Zazu. As an amused Rafiki looked on, the Lion Guard demanded an explanation. Mbeya furiously explained that Zazu had called him clumsy. The baboon leader clarified that it had been him who had called Mbeya clumsy, then accused Mbeya of having bumped into him. After the Lion Guard resolved the argument, Rafiki laughed.
Start of Makini's training
After Makini gained stripes on her face, Rafiki deduced that it was time for her to start her training.
One day, Rafiki was painting in his tree when he heard something in the wind and hurried off. Shortly afterward, he began to train an excitable young Makini. During the training sessions, Makini's impatience kept her from making any progress. Rafiki warned her that the hardest part of listening was finding the quiet to hear, then sent her out to find her bakora staff.
After Makini found her staff, she and Rafiki went to the Lair of the Lion Guard. There, Makini asked Rafiki if there was a way to talk to Scar, and Rafiki explained that it depended on if the Great Lion of the Past was good or bad. He went on that the Great Lions of the Past were in the sky, that their voices were in the wind, and that they were the lions who appeared when Kion used the Roar. However, the Evil Lions of the Past like Scar appeared in fire if they were unleashed by the Roar and the bakora staff. Rafiki then introduced Makini to the royal family.
Later, Rafiki was present as Ma Tembo searched for water. Makini ordered everyone to be quiet so that Ma Tembo could hear, and Ma Tembo subsequently located a water source. Pleased with Makini's wisdom, Rafiki smiled proudly.
Disturbed by Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha
One day, Rafiki was teaching Makini how to paint according to the whispers of the Great Lions of the Past. In the midst of the lesson, the mandrills were interrupted by a trio of young animals: Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha. The friends declared that they wanted to live with Rafiki at his tree. Though Rafiki was hesitant to accept them, he eventually gave in to their pleas and allowed them to stay.
However, due to the trio's rowdy behavior, Rafiki left his tree to find peace and quiet, and the Lion Guard saw him meditating in a different tree. They questioned him as to why he was not training Makini, and he admitted that he was trying to escape his noisy new neighbors. Kion wondered why three young animals would be on their own, and Rafiki suggested that the Lion Guard return them to their own kind.
With Rafiki in the lead, the Lion Guard ventured to Rafiki's tree, where they found Makini having a bug-eating competition with Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha. Kion questioned the three young animals on why they were not with their herds. The three admitted that they were outcasts, but Rafiki insisted that they must return to their families, for it was part of their duty to the Circle of Life. Seeing the importance of Rafiki's words, the three young animals agreed to return to their herds.
However, Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha were unable to fit in with their herds and so decided to return to Rafiki's tree. There, they disrupted yet another of Rafiki's lessons, and the mandrill ordered them to return to their herds and leave Makini to her training. Reluctantly, the three agreed and left the mandrills to their work.
Shortly after the trio left, sparks from a nearby fire began to drift across the savanna and ignited the grass beneath Rafiki's tree. Rafiki and Makini noticed the danger too late and found themselves trapped on a branch high above the fire. Ono happened to notice the danger and warned Kion about the situation. Before the Lion Guard could reach Rafiki's tree, however, Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha arrived and led the mandrills to safety. They promptly began to put out the fire themselves.
The Lion Guard eventually arrived at Rafiki's tree, only to find that Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha were battling the fire already. The Lion Guard joined in, and together, the two groups put out the fire. Rafiki thanked his rescuers profusely and, as a token of thanks, offered Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha a home at his tree. The three were honored by Rafiki's offer but admitted that they had found a new home near Big Springs for their family.
That night, Rafiki looked on in pride as Makini painted for the royal family.
When Kenge bit and paralyzed three members of the Lion Guard, Ono went to fetch Rafiki for help. However, Ono arrived at Rafiki's tree to find only Makini, who explained that Rafiki was away for the day. In her mentor's absence, she volunteered to help the Lion Guard instead.
Tale of Christmas
Rafiki taught Makini about the holidays of the Pride Lands. One such holiday intrigued Makini, and Rafiki explained that it was called "Christmas" and that it had been brought to the kingdom by two outsiders, Timon and Pumbaa. He then launched into the tale, explaining that Christmas always began when a large star shone brightly in the sky and lasted throughout the day and night.
After Rafiki finished his tale, Makini commented that Christmas was a celebration of the Circle of Life, to which Rafiki agreed. He then tapped the Christmas painting, bringing it to life, and the star at the top began to twinkle.
Due to a severe drought, the Lion Guard was forced to break up a fight between Twiga's herd and Vuruga Vuruga's herd. Kion took the problem to his father, Simba, who questioned Rafiki on how past kings had dealt with a water shortage. Rafiki was doubtful that the paintings of the past would reveal anything to him, though one such painting depicted a king leading the Pride Landers to a mysterious watering hole.
Makini recognized the watering hole and explained that she had seen it before in a neighboring kingdom, the Back Lands, and that it belonged to a herd of zebras. Simba deduced that the herd must belong to Dhahabu, after which he instructed Kion to ask the zebras for permission to use the watering hole in exchange for whatever boon they desired.
Attacked by the Army of Scar
Per Scar's instructions, Janja's clan closed in on a meditating Rafiki. As they stalked closer, a fire caught nearby. Just then, Rafiki noticed the encroaching hyenas and moved in for the attack. To the hyenas' shock, he had incredible martial skills and so was able to defeat them with ease. In the midst of the battle, Janja spotted the Lion Guard closing in and realized that his clan's plan was falling apart.
The Lion Guard joined forces with Rafiki and defeated the entirety of Janja's clan. Just then, Reirei and her pack arrived to help, and another fight instigated. Together, the Lion Guard and Rafiki beat back the combined forces of the hyenas and the jackals.
After the battle, Rafiki approached the Lion Guard and thanked them for their help. He noticed Kion approaching the site of the fire, which had died down to embers and burned grass. Rafiki joined him and noticed a strange mark carved into the dirt, which he believed represented a great evil. Troubled, Rafiki decided to consult the paintings of the past about the matter.
At Pride Rock, the Pride Landers honored the Kumbuka celebration. However, in the midst of the festivities, Sumu the scorpion stung Simba's tail, then retreated. Simba collapsed due to the venom, and Rafiki hastened to his side. After examining the sting, he determined that it had been inflicted by a scorpion. Kion sent Ono to find the scorpion, whom the Lion Guard chased into the Outlands.
With the scorpion gone, the Lion Guard returned to Pride Rock, where Simba had weakened severely. Rafiki explained that the only cure was volcanic ash, which could be found in the Outlands. He then tasked the Lion Guard with retrieving it. Bunga offered to carry the gourd that would hold the ash, but when he almost broke it, Rafiki ordered Makini to accompany the team.
The Lion Guard returned before sundown with the ash. Rafiki ordered everyone to leave Simba to his recovery, but Kion insisted that he must talk to his father. He then explained to Rafiki that Scar had returned, and Rafiki worriedly agreed that Kion must speak to Simba once the king recovered.
Consultation with Kongwe
At Pride Rock, Rafiki tasked Makini with finding Kongwe, the oldest and wisest animal in the Pride Lands. Beshte commented that Kongwe lived near the Urembo River, which was a half-day's walk from Pride Rock. Simba worried that this was too long of a delay, but Fuli volunteered to lend her assistance in order to speed up the trip.
That night, Rafiki was present as Kongwe assured her audience that the answer to defeating Scar would come in time.
Training Bunga in combat
Bunga visited Rafiki and received instruction on how to fight with a stick. Each of Bunga's attempts ended in failure, but Rafiki encouraged him to keep practicing regardless.
Makini's mpando mpaya
At Mizimu Grove, Rafiki and Simba announced Makini's mpando mpaya. In the midst of the celebration, the Army of Scar attacked, and the Pride Landers rose up to defend themselves. The battle paused when Scar appeared in the flames and threatened to overtake the entirety of the Pride Lands.
Some time later, Kion noticed something on the ground at Mizimu Grove and rushed off to speak to the Pride Landers. At Pride Rock, he interrupted Simba's somber opening statement and implored the Pride Landers to follow him to Mizimu Grove, where Makini's baobab tree seed had survived the fire. This inspired the Pride Landers to remain in the kingdom and work together to defeat Scar. Makini then planted her baobab tree as Rafiki looked on.
Battle for the Pride Lands
One morning, Rafiki and Simba looked out over the Pride Lands from Pride Rock. Later, the pair greeted the Lion Guard, and Rafiki noted the group's maturity as well as Kion's growing mastery of the Roar of the Elders. Simba decided that the Pride Landers must take the fight to Scar and his army, and Rafiki eagerly supported Kion's reasoning that they could call upon various allies for the battle.
On the day of the attack, Rafiki said to Simba, "It is time."
Lion Guard's trip to the Tree of Life
After Scar's defeat, Rafiki examined an injured Ono and declared that healing Ono's eyes was beyond his own abilities. He then looked to Kion, who had been scarred by Ushari, and called for Makini to bring the young lion tuliza to help with his symptoms. Rafiki revealed that Kion could not be cured in the Pride Lands but that his deteriorating condition could perhaps be healed at the Tree of Life. He and Makini noted that they had met at the Tree of Life. Afterward, Rafiki gave the Guard instructions on how to reach their destination.
Later, when Kion appointed Ono to be the Smartest member of the Lion Guard, Rafiki was amused and commented that Kion rarely followed tradition. Later, as the Guard was leaving the Pride Lands, Rafiki announced that he was sending Makini along with them, both to be a guide and to provide Kion with tuliza as needed. Rafiki was pleased to note that many other Pride Landers had assembled to bid the Guard farewell.
As the Lion Guard journeyed to the Tree of Life, they relied on Ono's memories of Rafiki's map as well as the moja kwa moja stones that Rafiki had painted to guide travelers. During the journey, Makini reflected on when she had first met Rafiki and been accepted as his apprentice. Ultimately, Rafiki's decision to send her with the Lion Guard persuaded Kion to trust her judgment, however strange it seemed at times.
When the Lion Guard arrived at the Tree of Life, Janna correctly guessed that it had been Rafiki who had sent them. Later, she reminisced fondly on the day Makini had first met Rafiki at the Tree of Life.
Reunification of the Outsiders and Pride Landers
|“||Kovu: Where's he taking us?
Rafiki: Oh, to a special place in your heart called Upendi!
Once Kiara reached adulthood, Rafiki painted her picture on the trunk of his tree. Next to her painting, he drew Kovu, whom he gave a mane. While he painted, Rafiki remarked that Kiara was growing into a queen who would someday make the Pride Landers proud but that Kovu was growing stronger and more full of hatred due to Zira's influence. He lamented the circumstances aloud to Mufasa's spirit. In answer, Mufasa sent a wind that knocked one of Rafiki's gourds onto the ground, where it cracked in two. Rafiki picked up the fallen pieces and looked at them questioningly, only to notice that, when he held them up in front of his paintings, they brought Kovu and Kiara together as one.
Shocked at the audacity of Mufasa's plan, Rafiki declared that it would never work and that Mufasa was out of his mind. However, the wind picked up, and Rafiki agreed to the plan because of how much he trusted Mufasa. However, he warned Mufasa that he had better know what he was doing.
Later, after Kovu saved Kiara from a fire, Simba refused to trust the rogue. However, Rafiki appeared on a nearby ridge and demanded to know why Kovu had saved the "king's daughter." This made Simba realize Kovu's part in Kiara's rescue.
One night, while Kovu and Kiara were spending time together, Rafiki appeared out of the grass and asked Kovu where he was going. A bit taken aback, Kovu commented that he was going "nowhere," to which Rafiki said, "That's what you think!" He then disappeared into the grass. Kovu asked who Rafiki was, and Kiara sheepishly replied that he was a "friend of the family." Suddenly, Rafiki appeared on Kovu's back. Once he had Kovu's attention, he nimbly jumped down, tugged on Kovu's tail, and urged the two young lions to follow him. Though Kovu was confused, Kiara was amused and urged him to follow Rafiki with her.
Together, Kovu and Kiara followed Rafiki to a jungle paradise, where the mandrill encouraged them to fall in love. The two had a delightful evening and began to feel romantically toward one another. However, shortly after their night together, Simba exiled Kovu from the Pride Lands due to his supposed involvement in an ambush set by Zira. This disappointed and saddened Rafiki.
Eventually, Kovu and Kiara united their feuding prides, and Simba accepted Kovu back into the fold. Together, the prides journeyed to Pride Rock and honored the new couple, whom Rafiki officially married. Afterward, the royal family strode to the edge of Pride Rock and roared. Meanwhile, Rafiki smiled and nodded approvingly at the heavens.
Battle of the Lion Guards
When the Lion Guard arrived at Pride Rock after their journey to the Tree of Life, Rafiki took note of Makini's absence and was amused to learn that she had remained at the Tree of Life. He explained that Queen Janna had predicted that Makini's place would be there, whereas Rafiki had believed that Makini would succeed him as the Royal Mjuzi of the Pride Lands.
Later, Rafiki informed the Lion Guard about the fall of Zira and the reconciliation of the Outsiders and Simba's pride. Shortly afterward, he noticed the approach of several family members and friends who wanted to greet the Lion Guard. Rafiki and Simba chuckled over the Lion Guard's happiness in returning to the Pride Lands, and Rafiki reminded Simba of his own experience in that matter.
After Kion and Vitani agreed to compete for the title of Lion Guard, Rafiki presided over the competition: the Battle of the Lion Guards. Eventually, Kion's Guard surrendered their role to Vitani's.
Rafiki is a tall, long-limbed, and skinny mandrill. He has blue-tinted dark gray fur, with a pale gray underbelly, brown hands and feet, and a blue backside. He has a pink muzzle, blue stripes on his cheeks, a bright red nose, and dark blue eye rims. His eyes are black.
Personality and traits
|“||Rafiki: Asante sana, squash banana, we we nugu, imi mi apana!
Simba: Ugh! Enough already! What is that supposed to mean anyway?
Rafiki: It means you're a baboon...and I'm not!
Rafiki is eccentric and high-energy. Even in serious circumstances, he loves to joke around, laugh, and make light of a situation. Beneath his humorous exterior, he is contemplative and wise, and enjoys giving advice to those in need. Oftentimes, the recipients of his advice do not understand the full picture at first, though they typically come around and show appreciation for his assistance after some reflection.
As the Royal Mjuzi of the Pride Lands, Rafiki takes his duties seriously and does everything he can to keep his kingdom in good condition. He has a strong connection to the Great Lions of the Past and will seek counsel from them whenever he is confused. Even if he doubts their advice, he will typically acquiesce to their requests, as he trusts their judgment. Rafiki also served as a mentor to Makini, with whom he was patient, kind, and understanding. In the face of her doubts, he would encourage her to trust in herself. He ultimately accepted her choice to serve at the Tree of Life and even laughed at how he had been wrong about her fate, while Janna had been right.
- Rafiki was voiced by the following:
- In The Lion King, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In The Lion King 1½, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, he was voiced by Khary Payton.
- In The Lion Guard, he was voiced by Khary Payton.
- In The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In Disney's Active Play: The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In Disney's Activity Center: The Lion King, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- In Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King, he was voiced by Robert Guillaume.
- Rafiki was animated by the following:
- In The Lion King, he was animated by James Baxter.
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, he was animated by Bob Baxter.
- In The Lion King 1½, he was animated by Alexs Stadermann.
- Stadermann also animated Timon in The Lion King 1½.
- The role of Rafiki in the stage musical version of The Lion King was originated by Tsidii Le Loka.
- Rafiki's name means "friend" in Swahili.
- Rafiki's Swahili chant loosely translates to: "Thank you very much. Squash banana. You're a baboon, and I'm not."
- In the stage musical version of The Lion King, Rafiki is female.
- In The Lion King, Rafiki is referred to as a "baboon" and a "monkey." In actuality, he is a mandrill. This mistake was rectified in The Lion Guard.
- In real life, mandrills do not have tails. However, according to animator James Baxter, the directors wanted Rafiki to have a tail, so he was animated to be a "mutant mandrill."
- In the Timon & Pumbaa episode "Rafiki's Apprentice", it is revealed that Rafiki has a nephew named Nefu.
- In A Tale of Two Brothers, it is revealed that Rafiki arrived in the Pride Lands during the reign of Ahadi. He was appointed to be Ahadi's royal adviser after he helped save a young Mufasa's and Scar's lives.
- In Follow the Leader, it is revealed that Rafiki used to live with a troop of mandrills in Grass Walls. He had relatives named Jelani and Karibu.
- In a Lilo & Stitch trailer that spoofs The Lion King, Rafiki holds up what is meant to be baby Simba, only for it to be Stitch.
- Originally, Rafiki was serene rather than eccentric. When the filmmakers changed Rafiki's personality, Robert Guillaume spent an entire day figuring out how to do the character's voice and laugh.
- Animator James Baxter struggled to integrate Rafiki's blue facial stripes so that they moved naturally with the rest of his face.
- It was animator James Baxter's idea to have Rafiki tilt his head horizontally while delivering the line, "The question is, who are you?" He wanted to make the moment "odd and quirky."