The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa
Rafiki is an old and hunched over primate. Along with those features, he has wide eyes and a large smile. Though he somewhat resembles a mandrill, Rafiki has a long tail and lacks a distinctive crested head, and is usually referred to as a baboon.
- "Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it."
- —Rafiki teaching Simba about the past
Rafiki is known as the shaman of the Pride Lands, as he performs activities which are similar to those of a human tribal shaman, but he also sometimes acts quite silly. He tends to speak in third person when speaking of himself. Though he may be old and weary (he has a bad knee), he can still pack a wallop with his staff (and simian Kung Fu action) if necessary. He often pops up in a bizarre manner to teach his wisdom in a rather roundabout way, and has the ability to read omens and communicate with the Great Kings of the Past.
In A Tale of Two Brothers, it is revealed that Rafiki, at the time, is a traveler who happens to stumble onto the Pride Lands during one of his many journeys. Zuzu arrives at his aid and directs him to the Five Stones, which he finds easily. There, he is surrounded by Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, but Ahadi orders them to leave. Rafiki later tells Ahadi and his sons, Taka and Mufasa, that he is seeking knowledge and studying the African land. Later on, he becomes good friends with Mufasa. During the drought, he overhears Taka's plan to make Mufasa look bad and manages to prevent Boma from attacking him. After an elephant escorts an injured Taka back to Pride Rock, Rafiki uses his shaman abilities to heal Taka, but the young lion must carry a scar for the rest of his life, which leads Taka to rename himself Scar. After the attack, Ahadi requests that Rafiki serve as a teacher to the future monarchs, which Rafiki agrees to do.
- "Creepy little monkey."
- —Adult Simba
Rafiki first appears by entering the presentation of Simba. All the gathered animals make way for him, and some even bow with respect, while he returns the salute with a smile. Greeting one another on top of Pride Rock, Rafiki and Mufasa embrace as close friends. They then come to Sarabi, who shows her newborn child, Simba, to Rafiki. Rafiki smiles at him and starts to perform a ceremony over the future king. First, he lifts his stick above Simba's head, and Simba tries to catch it with his little paws. Then, Rafiki breaks a piece of fruit in two parts and smears its juice on Simba's forehead. He then sprinkle a small amount of dust on his head and takes the little prince in his arms, carrying him to the edge of Pride Rock, where he raises him so all the animals can see him. When the ceremony ends, Rafiki returns home to his tree. There, as it rains, Rafiki drafts a stylized picture of Simba on his tree, chuckling.
After a few years, Scar brings news that Mufasa and Simba were killed in a stampede of wildebeests. Rafiki also hears the news and comes close enough to Pride Rock to see Scar take the throne and let the hyenas, mortal enemies of the lions, come to Pride Rock. Rafiki sighs sadly, mourning Mufasa, Simba, and the old kingdom. He soon returns to his tree and runs his hand over his drawing of Simba, blotting him out of the circle of life.
After a few years, Rafiki sits on the crown of his tree and grabs a pile of leaves, dirt, and grass that's floating on the breeze. He takes the mixture into an empty turtle shell and investigates it until he realizes that it contains traces of Simba, who is supposed to have been dead for several years. At first, Rafiki is confused by this new knowledge, but he soon runs to his smeared drawing and, realizing that Simba is now a young adult lion, draws him with a thick, red mane. Getting ready to help Simba to take his place in the circle of life, Rafiki says, "It is time!"
After a few days of travel, Rafiki finds an adult Simba in the jungle. Simba does not remember Rafiki, as he had been too young when he last saw the baboon. That evening, Simba, in a bad mood, makes a face at Rafiki as the baboon tries to attract his attention by singing a song. Simba moves away from him, but Rafiki constantly monitors him, and Simba asks him if he can cut out his song. Rafiki replies, "Can't cut it out. It'll grow right back!" The offended Simba again moves away from him, calling him a "creepy little monkey," but Rafiki again follows him.
Simba asks Rafiki to stop following him and then demands to know who he is. Rafiki asks Simba who he is, and Simba admits that he himself is no longer so sure. Rafiki says that he knows who Simba is, but it's a secret. When Simba comes near him, Rafiki chants his song in the young lion's ear. Simba snarls and asks him what it even means. Rafiki explains that the song is about Simba being a baboon while Rafiki is not. Simba says that Rafiki is a little confused, but Rafiki again appears before him and tells Simba that he is more confused, as he does not even know who he is. Simba says sarcastically, "Oh, I suppose you know," and Rafiki says, "Sure do. You are Mufasa's boy."
Simba is surprised by this revelation, but Rafiki calmly says, "Bye," and leaves. He climbs on a rock and meditates on it. Shortly after this, Simba comes and asks Rafiki if he once knew his father. Rafiki corrects him, saying that he still knows Mufasa. Thinking that Rafiki doesn't know about Mufasa's death, Simba tells him that the king is dead. Rafiki tells Simba that he is wrong again and says that Mufasa is still alive. He shows Simba the entrance to the forest and tells him that he will show Mufasa to him. Simba follows Rafiki through the dense forest until Rafiki stops.
The old baboon makes a passage in the grass for Simba and tells him to look down the slope. Simba does so and sees a small lake. Simba looks at the lake, expecting to see his father, as Rafiki said, but is disappointed when he sees that there is only his reflection. Simba says, "That's not my father. It's just my reflection," but Rafiki tells him that he needs to look harder. Simba looks at his reflection a little deeper, and it turns into an image of Mufasa. Simba is shocked, but Rafiki explains that this has happened because Mufasa actually "lives in Simba." Mufasa's ghost presently appears in the sky, and Rafiki steps aside to let his old friend talk to his son and convince him to return to Pride Rock and take his place as king.After the ghost leaves Simba, Rafiki comes to him and makes a comment about the strange weather, to which Simba replies, "Yeah. Looks like the winds are changing." Rafiki says that the change is good, but Simba expresses worry over facing his past. Rafiki suddenly hits the lion on the head with his stick. Simba asks what that was for, and Rafiki says that it doesn't matter, for it is in the past now. When Simba says that the hit still hurts, Rafiki says that the past often can hurt, but one can either run from it or learn from it. He tries to hit Simba one more time, but Simba now knows what he will do and steps away at the right time. Rafiki is satisfied that Simba has learned a lesson and asks him what he will do next. Simba says, "First, I'm gonna take your stick," and takes Rafiki's stick with his teeth, throwing it into the grass. Rafiki comes to take the stick back, but when again he turns to Simba, he sees that the young lion has started running off. Rafiki asks him where he is going, and Simba says that he is going back home. Rafiki is happy to be able to see Simba take the right step and cheerfully shouts, "Good! Go on! Get out of here!" He then laughs again and cheers as Simba disappears into the savanna grass.
The next morning, Rafiki decides to inform Simba's friends that Simba has gone back to the Pride Lands. He sees Timon and Pumbaa as well as Nala talking about where Simba is. Rafiki appears in the tree above them and says that they won't find Simba in the jungle, explaining that "the king has returned." Nala is the only one of the three to understand this comment, and Timon tries to ask Rafiki what he means, but the old baboon is gone and on his way to Pride Rock.
When Rafiki arrives at Pride Rock, he sees that the Pridelanders and Simba are fighting with Scar and his subjects, the hyenas. When one hyena bites Simba on his neck, Rafiki hits it unconscious with his stick. Simba runs to find Scar, and Rafiki takes over the hyena-fighting. They try to attack him, but he shows surprising skills and defeats them. After Simba defeats Scar, he comes to the entrance of Pride Rock, where Rafiki shows him that now he needs to climb up to the edge of the rock and roar, formalizing his royal title. Simba comes to him and embraces his new friend. Rafiki pats Simba's back and reminds him, "It is time." Later, he sees Simba climbing the rock and becoming king.
Rafiki is last time seen during the presentation of Simba and Nala's newborn cub. He brings the young lion to the edge of Pride Rock and raises the cub so that all the animals can see their future monarch.
- "Haw dare you save the King's daughter!"
- —Rafiki to Kovu
In the sequel, Rafiki makes his first appearance during the song "He Lives in You." While the other animals come around Pride Rock to see the presentation of Simba's cub, Kiara, Rafiki is at the edge of the rock, summoning the animals to the ceremony. When all the animals gather under the rock, Rafiki waits until Simba and Nala appear with an infant Kiara. He then raises the princess so that all the animals can see her. Mufasa's spirit comes to see his granddaughter, and Rafiki welcomes the spirit's wind onto his face. After the presentation, Rafiki smears juice onto Kiara's forehead. He then overhears Timon and Pumbaa calling Kiara a boy, so he snickers and corrects them, making Timon and Pumbaa faint.
Once Kiara enters cubhood, Rafiki draws her picture next to that of Kovu's, Scar's heir who was banished to the Outlands with Scar's other subjects. The baboon then talks with Mufasa's ghost and shows his concern about the comparative maturity of these two lions. Mufasa's spirit implies that he has a plan and makes wind bring down a piece of fruit, breaking it. Rafiki raises the halves in front of the pictures of Kovu and Kiara and, re-assembling them, realizes that Mufasa plans to make Kovu and Kiara fall in love. Rafiki does not agree with the plan and considers it impracticable, but Mufasa is persistent and recreates the wind. Rafiki decides to believe in the old king and resolves to help him execute the plan. As the spirit ascends back into the sky, Rafiki yells, "I just hope you know what you are doing!"
During Kiara's first hunt, Kovu follows his mother's orders and saves Kiara from the fire in order to infiltrate the Pride Lands. Simba roars at him and tries to scare him away, not knowing what Kovu has done for Kiara. Rafiki soon appears and comically yells to Kovu, "How dare you save the king's daughter?" Hearing Rafiki's words, Simba realizes that he is now indebted to Kovu and begrudgingly receives the young lion into his pride.The following day, Kiara and Kovu spend the day together and start to fall in love. In the evening, while the two young lions are together on the savanna, Rafiki finds them and hides in the grass, stopping Kovu from leaving Kiara by pointing his finger at the lion's nose from the grass. He asks Kovu where he is going, to which Kovu says, "Nowhere." Rafiki then jumps from the grass and taunts him, saying, "That's what you think." Kovu asks Kiara who Rafiki is, and she describes him as a friend of their family. Kovu looks back and finds Rafiki lying on his back. Rafiki slips off and darts away, tugging Kovu's tail and laughing. He then climbs onto a rock and again tells the two to follow him. Swinging from tree to tree and laughing eerily, Rafiki leads them to a place where he sings the song "Upendi" about an imaginative romantic location. In Rafiki's fantasy, he leads the Kovu and Kiara through the river, where they see many pairs of mates. In this way, Rafiki plays the role of matchmaker between the two young lions and successfully brings them to fall in love with each other, even though they do not admit their feelings to each other.
The next morning, Kovu and Simba accidentally fall into an ambush, but they manage to escape. However, Simba thinks that Kovu organized the assassination and expels him from the Pride Lands. Rafiki is seen at the end of the exile, watching sadly as Kovu goes away. He sighs sadly, knowing that Mufasa's plan has failed.
After the final battle, Simba and Kovu reconcile. Rafiki marries Kovu and Kiara, and Simba and his family roar at the top of Pride Rock, prompting Mufasa's ghost to appear in the sky. Rafiki nods to him, acknowledging the king's wisdom.
- "You have to look beyond what you see"
- —Rafiki talking to Timon
Rafiki appears briefly in The Lion King 1½, and is referred to by Timon as "The Omniscient Monkey." Rafiki teaches Timon the philosophy of "Hakuna Matata." Besides appearing in the scenes he appeared in in the original film, Rafiki also appears in a scene where he chats with Ma about telling Timon to "look beyond what he sees." Mistaking Rafiki's words of wisdom, Ma starts on her "journey of a thousand miles" to find Timon by angrily stepping on Rafiki's foot, presumably injuring him to some degree. It should be noted that this scene is misplaced, since it seems to be set right after Mufasa's death, at which point Rafiki had become understandably depressed, which he isn't here.
Finally, he is in a scene where he tries to convince Timon go back to join his friends against Scar, albeit saying nothing but "My work here is done" after Timon goes to find Pumbaa on his own. A silhouette of Rafiki appears in the theater where Timon and Pumbaa are sitting while Ma rewinds the movie.
A deleted scene from the film revealed that Rafiki was the movie's original narrator. This would have bore a striking similarity to an episode of the Timon and Pumbaa TV Series.
In the musical based on the film, the character of Rafiki the baboon went through a minor change. Because director Julie Taymor felt that the story lacked the presence of a strong female, Rafiki was changed into a female mandrill. The role was originated on Broadway by Tsidii Le Loka, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 1998 for her performance.
Rafiki's role is expanded in the musical. She sings the song, "Circle of Life" and her painting scene is extended. She also sings a song called "Rafiki Mourns" in which she mourns Mufasa's death in the Zulu language. She also has a brief role in Nala's song "Shadowland", blessing Nala on her journey to find help. Instead of finding Simba's scent on dust, Rafiki hears Simba's song "Endless Night" through the wind. Rafiki meets Simba and shows him that his father lives on inside him through the song "He Lives in You". Along with that, Rafiki's "Asante Sana" chant is completely changed. She is present during the battle, fighting a hyena using hand-to-hand combat. She then appears adorning Simba with the king's mantle, and presents Simba's newborn cub at the end of the musical.
Rafiki appears as a minor non-playable character in the Pride Lands world of the video game.
When Sora first arrives in the Pride Lands, Nala takes him to see Rafiki, in the hope that Sora could save the Pride Lands and become king. Rafiki, however, sees that it is Simba's destiny, not Sora's, and reluctantly sends him on his way. Later, however, while communing with the spirits, he sees that Simba is still alive, and catches up with Sora and Nala to tell them the news. When Simba succeeds in defeating Scar, Rafiki is there to officially induct him as the rightful king.
A while after Simba takes the throne, a multiple number of ghosts of Scar begin to appear around the Pride Lands and haunt the denizens. When Simba and Sora visit Rafiki for advice, he reveals that Scar's ghost is accessed from his evil power and Simba's insecure heart. Though it is hard at first, he eventually overcomes his fears and saves the Pride Lands from Scar's ghost. When Simba asks Sora about the end of his quest, Rafiki informs them that the struggle will never end, because that is the circle of life, but also advises him to remember to be strong, noting that it's the key to victory.
Rafiki appears in a few episodes of the series and is given his own segment titled "Rafiki Fables."
In "Rafiki's Apprentice," it is revealed that Rafiki knows how to make Potions, and that his walking stick, which he always carries, has magical powers.
Also, in "Good Mousekeeping," it is revealed that Rafiki can grant wishes and can even take some of the Wishes back as well.
All Voice Actors
- The Lion King - (1994) - (film) - Robert Guillaume
- The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa' - (1995–1998) - (TV series) - Robert Guillaume
- The Lion King (musical) - (1997) - (musical) - Tsidii Le Loka (original actress)
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride - (1998) - (film) - Robert Guillaume (speaking and singing)
- The Lion King 1½ - (2004) - (film) - Robert Guillaume
- Kingdom Hearts II - (2005) - (video game) - Robert Guillaume
- Rafiki is referred to as a baboon, but he is really a hybrid between a mandrill and a baboon.
- Rafiki used to be named Kwashi.
- In early drafts of the film, Rafiki was a cheetah instead of a mandrill.
- "It is time"
- —Rafiki finds out Simba is alive
- "Asante sana
we we nugu
mi mi apana!"
- —Rafiki's chant
- "The question is: whooo are you?"
- —Rafiki to Simba
- "You see. He lives in you."
- —Rafiki shows Mufasa to Simba
- "How dare you save the king's daughter?!"
- —Rafiki to Kovu