Listen up, zero in, and get this!
Jambo is a monkey who lived during the reign of Mufasa and later Simba.
Lions who listen to the chattering of monkeys will never learn to roar!
Kopa, the prince of the Pride Lands, is playing with his monkey friends at the beginning of the book. He boasts about his future as king and watches them to make sure they're listening. But as he's preoccupied in his talk, he doesn't watch where he's going and trips over a tree root. Jambo and Kwaheri laugh at him and start teasing him about his clumsiness. They call him names, and Kopa, a bit annoyed, tells them to drop it. Jambo changes the subject by inviting his friends to play a game of "I-dare-you," and Kopa and Kwaheri agree enthusiastically. Kopa starts by daring Jambo to swing from a short acacia tree to a tall one. Jambo is confident and smoothly completes the dare. The game continues, and the three friends perform a number of dares.
Finally, Jambo dares Kopa to catch him and Kwaheri. The lion cub agrees, and the chase begins. The monkeys are agile and evade Kopa by swinging through the trees. He chases them long and hard until he barely has breath left. Finally, they lead him to a dangerous gorge at the edge of a raging river. They call to him, and he sees them perched in a tree on the edge of the cliff. They skillfully leap to a tree on the other side of the gorge and yell to Kopa to come catch them. Kopa reminds them that he can't climb trees, and the monkeys tell him to jump. Kopa hesitates, and Jambo asks what he's waiting for. Kwaheri breaks into merciless mocking, and Jambo joins in. Finally, Kopa gives into the pressure and decides to jump. But then he freezes. The monkeys keep yelling, and Kopa finally turns and runs away.
Later, after Kopa hears Rafiki's story, Zazu tells him that Jambo and Kwaheri are looking for him and that they will be waiting around the terrace. Kopa goes to meet the monkeys again, and they greet him with the same ceaseless chatter as before. They hang from the branches of an umbrella thorn tree, and Kopa scampers up to meet them. Jambo immediately tells Kopa to watch him perform a trick. He does an amazing double somersault and lands on the ground in front of Kopa. Kwaheri repeats the trick, and Jambo tells Kopa to give it a try. Kopa reminds the monkeys that they know he can't do those things and then asks them to drop the subject. But Jambo retaliates by daring him to do it and calling him a "scaredy-cat." Kopa starts to walk away, but Kwaheri asks what's up. Kopa turns and tells the monkeys that lions will never learn to roar if they listen to the chattering of monkeys. Jambo and Kwaheri stare at Kopa with mouths wide open. The cub listens to their unusual silence and decides that he likes it.
|“||Zazu: What is this beast?|
Jambo: I'm not sure, I just heard some ostriches talking about it.
Kwaheri: It sounds like bad news. Do you think it can climb trees?
When Zazu is taking a break in a tree, he overhears Jambo gossiping with his friend, Kwaheri, about a strange beast. Zazu asks the monkeys about the beast, but Jambo is unsure of what he's heard and tells Zazu that he'd heard the rumor from the ostriches. Kwaheri thinks it's bad news and asks his friend whether he thinks it can climb trees or not. Zazu decides that he must figure things out right away and flies off to find out more about the beast.
Jambo is small, long-limbed, and skinny. His fur is chocolate-brown, excluding the dusky-brown fur on his forehead, and his hands and feet are a light beige. He has a gray chest and orange-brown eyes. He also appears to be a shade darker than his friend, Kwaheri.
Personality and traits
|“||Jambo: What a gas! What a goof! What a riot!|
Kwaheri: Tickles my ribs, splits my sides, flips my wig! Can you believe he's going to be the lion king someday?
Jambo: Like his father, Simba! That's a scream, a hoot, and a howler!
Jambo's personality is not explored in How True, Zazu?, but his character is much more prominent in Nala's Dare, in which he is shown to be social, talkative, and critical of his friends. He doesn't seem to be aware of Kopa's feelings, as he often laughs at the lion cub and teases him mercilessly about being a goofball. He likes to show off his acrobatic ability around Kopa by tree-swinging with Kwaheri. He often flaunts his talents around the young prince to either spark a reaction or just be a show-off. He's also clueless when it comes to the difference between fun and danger, as he often goes too far when playing games, such as when he dares Kopa to jump a gorge, completely unconcerned about the obvious danger of the situation. The monkeys taunt the cub and egg him on until Kopa finally turns and runs away. Later, they are rebuked, as Kopa is tired of their endless chatter.
- Another form of Jambo's name ("hujambo") is a way to say "hello" in Swahili. Jambo's friend Kwaheri has a name that means "goodbye."
I dare you! You're not a scaredy-cat, are you?