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Rafiki
BigLovableChunkOfWarthogHere.png
"Do you see any other big, lovable chunk of warthog here?"
This article is about the character from the 1994 film.
You may be looking for the character from the 2019 film.


Rafiki
Updated Fiki.png
Physical information
Gender

Male

Species

Cheetah (books)
Mandrill (original)

Skin color

Blue and red

Hair color

Black, gray, pink, and white

Eye color

Black

Distinguishing features

   Goatee
   Ruff

Biographical information
Also known as

   The baboon (by Nala)
   Bub (by Timon)
   Crazy old monkey (by Janja)
   Creepy little monkey (by Simba)
   The monkey (by Timon)
   Old monkey (by Reirei and Scar)
   Old Rafiki (by himself)

Status

Living

Residence

Pride Lands

Affiliations

   Pride Landers
   Pride Lands monarchy

Titles

Royal Mjuzi

Relationship information
Allies
Enemies

Scar, Cheezi (formerly), Chungu (formerly), Janja (formerly), Nne (formerly), Tano (formerly)

You follow old Rafiki. He knows the way!
―Rafiki[src]

Rafiki is a male mandrill. He currently serves as the Royal Mjuzi of the Pride Lands.

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.

Biography

Early life

Rafiki lived in the Pride Lands. At some point in his life, he became the kingdom's Royal Mjuzi.[1] As per tradition, he planted a baobab tree in Mizimu Grove.[2] Additionally, he befriended Mufasa, the king of the Pride Lands.[3]

Meeting Timon

To find it, you must look beyond what you see.
―Rafiki to Timon, on his search for a new home[src]

Rafiki tells Timon to look beyond what he sees.

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.[4]

Simba's presentation

Rafiki presents Simba to the animals of the Pride Lands.

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.[3]

Mufasa's death

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.[3]

Encounter with Ma

So, I told the boy: "To find Hakuna Matata, you must look beyond what you see."
―Rafiki to Ma, on his encounter with Timon[src]

Ma yells at Rafiki for "using a metaphor" on Timon.

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.[4]

Simba's return to the Pride Lands

Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.
―Rafiki to Simba[src]

Rafiki realizes that Simba is alive.

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!"

Rafiki insists that Mufasa is alive.

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.

Rafiki tells Simba that Mufasa lives on inside him.

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's presence inspires Timon to help Simba reclaim the Pride Lands.

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.[3] 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."[4]

Battle of Pride Rock

During the battle of Pride Rock, Rafiki took on several hyenas and used his bakora staff to beat them up.[3]

Simba's coronation

It is time.
―Rafiki, shortly before Simba's coronation[src]

Rafiki and Simba hug prior to the latter's coronation.

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.

Seasons later, Rafiki presented Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the gathered animals.[3]

Kiara's presentation

It is a girl.
―Rafiki on Kiara[src]

Rafiki marks Kiara's forehead.

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.[5]

Makini's apprenticeship

Rafiki is a Royal Mjuzi, and he believes that you may also grow up to be a Royal Mjuzi. But only the voices of the past at the Tree of Life will let him know for sure.
Fikiri to Makini[src]

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.[6] Even so, Janna predicted that Makini would ultimately serve the Tree of Life, not the Pride Lands.[7]

Dawn of the Lion Guard

The Roar is a very powerful gift. It can be used for great good, but it can also lead to terrible evil.
―Rafiki on the Roar of the Elders[src]

Rafiki tells Kion about the Roar of the Elders.

While Simba's son, Kion, and his best friend, Bunga, were playing Baobab Ball, Rafiki appeared in a nearby tree and laughed.

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.

Rafiki cheers as the Lion Guard defeats Janja's clan.

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.

Later, when Janja and his clan attacked a herd of gazelles, Rafiki witnessed Kion's new Lion Guard defending their homeland. He whooped and cheered at the team's victory.[8]

Bunga the Wise

You did not hear everything I said. Honey badgers are only smartest when they think things through.
―Rafiki to Bunga[src]

Rafiki compliments honey badgers on their wisdom.

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.[9]

Ono's injury

This Lion Guard is best together.
―Rafiki on Kion's Lion Guard[src]

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.

Rafiki tends to Ono.

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.[10]

Kupatana

It is time.
―Rafiki, during Kupatana[src]

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.[11]

Bunga's cobra bite

Eh, Bunga? Honey badgers like you – you're immune to snake bites.
―Rafiki, after Bunga is bitten by Ushari[src]

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.[12]

Tale of Nala's father

These paintings? They show the history of the Pride Lands.
―Rafiki on his paintings[src]

Rafiki explains that his painting depicts Nala's father, not Kion.

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.[13]

Tale of the Zimwi

The Zimwi is a terrifying beast! But it only comes into the Pride Lands on the night of the full moon.
―Rafiki[src]

Rafiki tells the story 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.[14]

Tale of the Outsiders

And if they find out that Kion is Simba's son, there could be trouble. Much trouble!
―Rafiki on the Outsiders[src]

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.

Rafiki warns the Lion Guard about Zira.

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.[15]

Savannah Summit

Mbeya, you must get up! I cannot finish the portrait with you sitting down.
―Rafiki, as he paints a portrait of the baboon leader and Mbeya[src]

Rafiki attempts to paint a portrait of the baboon leader and Mbeya.

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.[16]

Start of Makini's training

But you must be quiet and listen to what I say if you are to be Royal Mjuzi someday. Remember, the hardest part of listening is finding the quiet to hear.
―Rafiki to Makini[src]

Rafiki trains his apprentice, Makini, in the art of being calm.

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.

Rafiki assures Makini that she is more important than 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.[17]

Disturbed by Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha

Live here? Ha! You cannot live here. I need quiet to train my apprentice.
―Rafiki to Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha, after they ask to live at Rafiki's tree[src]

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.

Rafiki teaches Makini to paint based on what the Great Lions of the Past tell her.

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.

Rafiki reluctantly allows Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha to stay at his tree.

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.

Chama, Furaha, and Mzaha save Rafiki and Makini from a fire.

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.[18]

Ukumbusho

Makini mentioned that Rafiki had sent her to paint the elephants for the Ukumbusho Tradition.[19]

Kenge's attack

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.[20]

Tale of Christmas

And that is how Timon and Pumbaa introduced the Pride Lands to the special day known as Christmas. It celebrates the gift of family, friends, and the joy of being together.
―Rafiki, after he tells Makini the story of Christmas[src]

Rafiki tells Makini the story of how Christmas came to the Pride Lands.

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.[21]

Drought

Well, I do know it is not in the Pride Lands.
―Rafiki on Dhahabu's watering hole[src]

Rafiki and Simba discuss the possibility of using Dhahabu Grove as a watering hole.

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.[22]

Attacked by the Army of Scar

Thank you, Lion Guard. It has been a long time since I embraced my inner warrior.
―Rafiki, after he and the Lion Guard fight the Army of Scar[src]

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.

Rafiki uses his superior martial skills to fend off Janja and his clan.

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.[23]

Kumbuka

Kion, you must get the ash back by sundown.
―Rafiki, after he sends Kion to get a cure for Simba's sting[src]

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.

Rafiki tends to a wounded Simba.

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.[24]

Consultation with Kongwe

Simba seeks counsel from Kongwe, the wisest of the wise.
―Rafiki[src]

Rafiki listens to Kongwe's wisdom.

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.[25]

Training Bunga in combat

Remember, young honey badger: practice. The key to good form is to stick with it.
―Rafiki to Bunga, as he trains him in combat prowess[src]

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.[26]

Makini's mpando mpaya

As you know, every tree in Mizimu Grove has been planted by a Royal Mijuzi. In fact, the tree I planted is right over there! It is much bigger now!
―Rafiki, during Makini's mpando mpaya[src]

Rafiki encourages Makini to plant her baobab tree.

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.[2]

Battle for the Pride Lands

It is time.
―Rafiki, before the battle with the Army of Scar[src]

Rafiki tells Simba that it is time for battle.

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."[27]

Lion Guard's trip to the Tree of Life

If Kion is to get better, he must seek out the Tree of Life.
―Rafiki, after Kion is injured by Ushari[src]

Rafiki examines Kion's scar.

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.[27]

Rafiki sends Makini with the Lion Guard.

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.[28] 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.[6]

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.[29]

Reunification of the Outsiders and Pride Landers

Kovu: Where's he taking us?
Rafiki: Oh, to a special place in your heart called Upendi!
—Rafiki, as he encourages Kovu and Kiara to fall in love[src]

Rafiki communes with Mufasa's spirit.

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.

Rafiki encourages Kovu and Kiara to fall in love.

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.

Rafiki officiates Kovu and Kiara's wedding.

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.[5]

Battle of the Lion Guards

Ah, Queen Janna was right. She was certain Makini's rightful place would be at the Tree of Life, just as I was certain Makini's role would be here in the Pride Lands.
―Rafiki[src]

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.

Rafiki presides over the Battle of the Lion Guards.

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.[7]

Kion's coronation

Rafiki attended Kion's wedding to Rani at the Tree of Life.[7]

Physical appearance

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.[3]

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 and Simba[src]

Rafiki's wisdom and spiritual acuity influenced Simba to return to the Pride Lands.

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.[3][4]

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.[3] 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.[5] 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.[1] 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.[7]

Rafiki often speaks in the third person about himself.[3][5]

Appearances

Films

Television series

Special features

Video games

Books

Short stories

Comics

Magazine stories

Trivia

General

  • Rafiki was animated by the following:

Tsidii Le Loka as Rafiki in the stage musical version of The Lion King.

  • Rafiki's name means "friend" in Swahili.[36]
  • Rafiki's Swahili chant loosely translates to: "Thank you very much. Squash banana. You're a baboon, and I'm not."[36]
  • In the stage musical version of The Lion King, Rafiki is female.[37]
  • In The Lion King, Rafiki is referred to as a "baboon" and a "monkey."[3] In actuality, he is a mandrill. This mistake was rectified in The Lion Guard.[1]
  • 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."[38]
  • 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.[43]

In development

Rafiki's King of the Jungle design.

  • During early production of The Lion King, Rafiki was a cheetah rather than a mandrill.[46]
  • 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.[48]
  • Animator James Baxter struggled to integrate Rafiki's blue facial stripes so that they moved naturally with the rest of his face.[38]
  • 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."[38]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in "The Lion Guard: The Rise of Scar" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 5, Season 2. Written by Ford Riley. Originally aired July 29, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revealed in "The Fall of Mizimu Grove" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 28, Season 2. Written by Kendall Michele Haney and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired March 25, 2019.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Revealed in Disney's The Lion King (1994). Written by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton, and directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Revealed in Disney's The Lion King 1½ (2004). Written by Tom Rogers, and directed by Bradley Raymond. Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Revealed in Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998). Written by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, and directed by Rob LaDuca and Darrell Rooney. Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Revealed in "Journey of Memories" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 7, Season 3. Written by Jennifer Skelly and directed by Tom De Rosier. Originally aired September 22, 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Revealed in "Return to the Pride Lands" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 19, Season 3. Written by Kendall Michele Haney and Ford Riley, and directed by Tom De Rosier and Howy Parkins. Originally aired November 3, 2019.
  8. Revealed in Disney's The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar (2015). Written by Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
  9. Revealed in "Bunga the Wise" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 3, Season 1. Written by John Loy and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired January 22, 2016.
  10. Revealed in "Eye of the Beholder" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 5, Season 1. Written by John Loy, Jack Monaco, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired February 5, 2016.
  11. Revealed in "The Kupatana Celebration" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 6, Season 1. Written by Elise Allen, John Loy, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired February 12, 2016.
  12. Revealed in "Fuli's New Family" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 7, Season 1. Written by Elise Allen, John Loy, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired February 19, 2016.
  13. Revealed in "Paintings and Predictions" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 11, Season 1. Written by Elise Allen and Kevin Hopps, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired April 1, 2016.
  14. Revealed in "Beware the Zimwi" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 19, Season 1. Written by Jack Monaco and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired October 14, 2016.
  15. Revealed in "Lions of the Outlands" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 20, Season 1. Written by Kevin Hopps, John Loy, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired November 11, 2016.
  16. Revealed in "The Savannah Summit" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 2, Season 2. Written by Jack Monaco and directed by Tom Derosier and Howy Parkins. Originally aired July 7, 2017.
  17. Revealed in "The Lion Guard: The Rise of Scar" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 5, Season 2. Written by Ford Riley. Originally aired July 29, 2017.
  18. Revealed in "Rafiki's New Neighbors" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 8, Season 2. Written by Laura Sreenby and Krista Tucker, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired September 22, 2017.
  19. Revealed in "The Ukumbusho Tradition" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 10, Season 2. Written by Jack Monaco and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired October 27, 2017.
  20. Revealed in "The Bite of Kenge" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 11, Season 2. Written by Krista Tucker and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired November 3, 2017.
  21. Revealed in "Timon and Pumbaa's Christmas" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 12, Season 2. Written by John Loy and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired December 8, 2017.
  22. Revealed in "The Golden Zebra" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 14, Season 2. Written by Elise Allen and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired January 9, 2018.
  23. Revealed in "Divide and Conquer" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 16, Season 2. Written by John Loy and directed by Tom Derosier. Originally aired January 11, 2018.
  24. Revealed in "The Scorpion's Sting" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 17, Season 2. Written by Krista Tucker and directed by Tom Derosier. Originally aired April 2, 2018.
  25. Revealed in "The Wisdom of Kongwe" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 18, Season 2. Written by Jack Monaco and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired April 3, 2018.
  26. Revealed in "The Hyena Resistance" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 23, Season 2. Written by Kendall Michele Haney and directed by Tom De Rosier. Originally aired September 6, 2018.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Revealed in "Battle for the Pride Lands" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 1, Season 3. Written by Ford Riley and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired August 3, 2019.
  28. Revealed in "The Harmattan" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 2, Season 3. Written by Gus Constantellis and directed by Tom De Rosier and Howy Parkins. Originally aired September 7, 2019.
  29. Revealed in "The River of Patience" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 12, Season 3. Written by Jennifer Skelly and directed by Tom De Rosier and Howy Parkins. Originally aired October 12, 2019.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 30.7 Robert Guillaume. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on August 10, 2021.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Khary Payton. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on August 10, 2021.
  32. James Baxter. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on September 27, 2020.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Bob Baxter. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on August 10, 2021.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Alexs Stadermann. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on September 27, 2020.
  35. Tsidii Leloka. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on August 10, 2021.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Online Swahili - English Dictionary. African Languages. Retrieved on September 27, 2020.
  37. Revealed in the stage musical version of The Lion King
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Animation Anecdotes #309. Cartoon Research. Retrieved on August 10, 2021.
  39. Revealed in "Rafiki's Apprentice" from Disney's The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa. No. 15b, Season 1. Written by Byron Simpson, and directed by Rob LaDuca. Originally aired November 4, 1995.
  40. Simmons, Alex. A Tale of Two Brothers (1994). ISBN: 0717283488.
  41. McBrier, Page. Follow the Leader (1994). ISBN: 0717283526.
  42. Revealed in The Baboon Problem. Written by Per Hedman and pencilled by Daniel Pérez. Published in December 2000.
  43. The Lion King (1994) – Connections. IMDb. Amazon. Retrieved on August 3, 2021.
  44. David Chandler (September 1, 2018). Creating The Lion King: Story development, authorship and accreditation in the Disney Renaissance. Ingenta Connect. Retrieved on August 15, 2021.
  45. Revealed in Disney's The Lion King (1990). Written by J. T. Allen.
  46. Revealed in the Diamond Edition of The Lion King
  47. Finch, Christopher. The Art of The Lion King (June 2, 1996). ISBN: 0786861843.
  48. 10 things you probably didn't know about 'The Lion King'. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on August 10, 2021.
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