The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa
Old but sprite, Rafiki is tall in stature and thinly built, composed of lanky limbs and a hunched back. His main pelt is scruffy and blue-gray in color, while his chest is pale gray. Both his hands and his feet are coated in black fur, his palms a pinkish-brown, and his muzzle matches his palms in color. His face itself is pale blue, broken only by sky blue cheeks, navy blue eye rims, and a bright red nose. Like most mandrills, he sports a puffy white mane and a long goatee of the same color. His eyes are bright yellow, and his teeth are unexpectedly sharp.
Though referred to as a "baboon," Rafiki is modeled after a mandrill, bearing the same general coloration and markings as the rest of the species. However, unlike most mandrills, Rafiki has a long tail and lacks a distinctive crested head. Because of this, his animators often refer to him as a "mutant."
- "Oh, yes, the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it."
- —Rafiki teaches Simba
At his core, Rafiki is a royal adviser, able to utilize his shamanistic abilities and deep wisdom to benefit the many kings of the Pride Lands, from regal Mufasa to still-learning Simba. The old baboon appears to have abilities that none of the other characters understand, as he can read omens and signs in the wind and communicate with the Great Kings of the Past. His ability to synchronize with nature gives him a good sense of the world, clearing his thoughts for wisdom and leading him to be at the right place at the right time.
Not only is Rafiki in tune with the world around him, but he is as wise as his years suggest. From the very beginning, he is shown to be a respected figure, as the animals part before him during Simba's presentation to let him pass. He is also able to recognize a good leader when he sees one, lamenting Scar's rise to power and the death of a noble line of rulers. In recognizing good leadership, Rafiki is able to establish order once more by bringing back a lion of noble blood, convincing him of his own accountability. In doing so, Rafiki establishes himself as one with a good sense of responsibility, as he has taken the time to bring Simba back himself, not leaving it up to the young lion to figure out on his own.
Though insightful on the inside, Rafiki does not always match up on the outside. Loud-mouthed and as outgoing as they come, the old baboon does not fear judgment, taking it upon himself to be as annoying and energetic as possible in order to bring about order in the Pride Lands. His methods are often bothersome to the other creatures around him, as he doesn't mind crossing social barriers in order to nudge others in the right direction. This can be seen when he chants nonstop in Simba's ear and tugs provokingly at Kovu's tail. His energy is plentiful, and he is capable of outrunning a lion when pent up on excitement. However, when this energy is vented in anger, Rafiki proves himself to be a rather dangerous foe, capable of taking on a large group of hyenas single-handedly. His high-strung personality can be deadly, though it is more often than not used for good.
Despite these odd bursts of vivacity, Rafiki is a gentle caretaker and a loyal friend. When handling infant Simba, he is shown to be soft in his movements and eager to play, shaking the gourds on his staff above the infant's head. He is also courteous of the child's parents, always looking to them for assurance before handling the cub, and harbors friendly relations with both, though more so with Mufasa. Since the lion's adolescence, Rafiki has been watching over the Pride Lands, devoting himself to keeping his promise to Mufasa's father, Ahadi. In keeping this promise, which spans the course of many years, Rafiki establishes a covenant with the royal family, devoting himself entirely to their kingdom and their betterment. Dedicated and loyal, he has been a constant heart of the kingdom and continues to serve even in his old age.
Before journeying to the Pride Lands, Rafiki lived with his troop in Grass Walls. For unknown reasons, he departed from his homeland and became a wanderer, learning as much as he could from the savanna lands he encountered.
Once he stumbled upon the Pride Lands, he was attacked by the hyenas at Five Stones but saved by Ahadi and his two sons, Mufasa and Scar (then named Taka). After hearing about Rafiki's mission, Ahadi invited him to spend the night at Pride Rock, and the two talked for hours about the plights of the kingdom. That night, Rafiki befriended Mufasa and saved him from a cobra, impressing the young lion.
The following day, Rafiki overhears Taka plotting with the hyenas to get Mufasa in trouble. The baboon attempts to warn Mufasa, but he arrives too late, for Taka has already set an angry buffalo named Boma against Mufasa. The two run from Boma, and Mufasa orders Rafiki to climb onto his back. While running, Mufasa tricks Boma into falling into a ravine.
Later that day, Mufasa and Rafiki return to Pride Rock, where Rafiki accepts an official position with Mufasa's father, Ahadi, as the royal adviser of the Pride Lands.
- "Creepy little monkey."
- —Simba about Rafiki
Rafiki first appears at 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, Mufasa and Rafiki 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 to himself and murmuring the cub's name, "Simba."
A few years later, 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.
Years into Scar's reign, 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 exclaims, "It is time!"
After a few days of travel, Rafiki finds a full-grown 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!" An offended Simba again moves away from Rafiki, 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 that 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 counters sarcastically, "Oh, and I suppose you know," and Rafiki says, "Sure do. You're 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 a patch of jungle and tells him that he will show Mufasa to him. Simba follows Rafiki through the dense vegetation until Rafiki stops him.
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 had 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 should 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 back 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 overpowers 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." He then watches as Simba climbs the rock and becomes 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.
- "How 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, Kovu and Kiara 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 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 at first.
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 runs away. He sighs sadly, feeling 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.
- "To find it, you must look beyond what you see."
- —Rafiki to Timon
In this film, Rafiki first appears after Timon decides to leave his colony and find "a new dream home." That night, Timon starts to cry because he himself has no idea where he should go. As he does so, Rafiki appears, looking down from his tree. From an upside-down position, he informs Timon that which way he goes should depend upon what he is looking for. Spooked, Timon falls to the ground. He then asks Rafiki where he'd come from, to which Rafiki replies, "Oh, the better question is: where are you going?" Timon explains to him that he wants to live outside the colony in a wonderful place without worries.
He asks Rafiki if he'd heard his song, "That's All I Need," which expresses his need for that place, but Rafiki hadn't heard it. Rafiki then jumps from the tree and says that Timon is actually looking for "Hakuna Matata." Timon mistakes the phrase for "harpoon of tomato," but Rafiki explains that it means "no worries." Timon asks Rafiki to draw a map to Hakuna Matata, but Rafiki smacks him over the head with the stick. He goes into his mystic-monkey pose and vaguely says that Timon must "look behind what he sees" to find a life without worries. Timon doesn't understand again, but Rafiki just repeats his advice. Timon wrongly understands it to mean "go to the farthest thing you see" and decides to go to Pride Rock. He wants to ask Rafiki if he is right, but the old baboon is gone.
When he disappears, Rafiki most likely goes to Pride Rock for the presentation of Simba. When Timon meets Pumbaa and they come to Pride Rock looking for a new home, they see Rafiki at the edge of the rock, holding up an infant Simba, but the baboon does not see them.
After Mufasa dies, Rafiki decides to see Timon's colony and tell his mother that he'd helped her son find what he's looking for. However, when Ma hears what Rafiki had told her son, she hits him in the head with his own stick, catches him by the goatee, and yells, "You used a metaphor on Timon? He takes things literally!" She then decides to go and find her son, who is probably in trouble. Rafiki reminds her, "Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step," and she replies with, "Thanks. Here's my first step," jumping painfully onto his foot.Much later, after Nala and Pumbaa decide to leave the jungle in order to help Simba, Timon stays behind. Come nightfall, Rafiki appears in front of him, but Timon says, "You. No, no, no. Don't say a word. I know what you're gonna say." He then acts like he is Rafiki and asks, "Did you find Hakuna Matata?" Then he is himself again and, with forced happiness and a gracious air, says, "Well, yes, I did! Thank you very much! And I am happy...happy, happy, deliriously happy." He imitates Rafiki again and says, "Ho, ho, haaah! I see. Happy, is it? So, if you're so happy, why do you look so miserable?" Timon switches back to himself. Rafiki stares sardonically at the camera, listening to Timon's messing around. Timon continues as himself, "Miserable, you say? Why should I be miserable? Oh, I don't know. Maybe my two best pals in the world deserted me. Heh. They've...they've headed off on some heroic mission. My friends..." Timon then realizes that he cannot have Hakuna Matata without friends. Rafiki nods slowly, smiling. Timon indicates with his head, saying, "Would you mind?" Rafiki then smacks him with his stick. Leaving the jungle to find his friends, Timon says, "Thanks! I'm glad we had this talk." Ascribing the credit for Timon's correct decision to himself, Rafiki says, "My work here is done."
When the movie ends, a silhouette of Rafiki appears in the theater where Timon and Pumbaa are sitting while Timon's mother rewinds the movie. Rafiki laughs and says, "Any story worth telling is worth telling twice."
In the musical, the character of Rafiki goes through a major 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 can 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, Simba 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 he also advises them to remember to be strong, noting that it's the key to victory.
Rafiki plays a rather major role in The Lion King 1½, and has an add-on costume in the Disney Universe game.
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.
House of Mouse
Rafiki is a recurring guest in House of Mouse. Rafiki's most memorable scene is in the episode "The Stolen Cartoons," where Timon yells that there is a fly in Pumbaa's soup and that he wants one as well. Timon then asks what's in Simba's soup, and he replies that it is Rafiki, who is bathing in his soup.
Rafiki is given his own advertisement at the end of "King Larry Swings In," which promotes Rafiki's Royal Treatment, a service in which Rafiki can be hired to partake in special events like birthdays, tea parties, holidays, and puppet shows.
Rafiki is seen in the form of a trophy in the episode "Honest and Real!"
In this sequence of the Diamond Edition of the film, during the credits, Rafiki appears twice. The first time, he falls asleep on a rock during the shooting of a scene, and Simba tries to wake him up, shaking his shoulders, but fails and proposes to continue filming tomorrow. The second time, Rafiki carries baby Simba to the edge of Pride Rock but stumbles and lets Simba fall from Pride Rock.
Rafiki appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meet-and-greet character. He hosts the Rafiki's Planet Watch area of Disney's Animal Kingdom, an area that hosts various conservation education programs and the park's veterinary facilities. One of the various shows inside the pavilion has Rafiki profiling different endangered species and telling guests how they can help them.
Rafiki can be seen in the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of the show. He replaces King Louie in the jungle sequence. He also appears onboard the riverboat with the other characters in the show's finale. In the Tokyo DisneySea version, Rafiki arrives after the jungle mash and showcases the Circle of Life.
Rafiki is a costumed character with a Disney Characters' Articulated Heads as the narrator of the former Magic Kingdom show.
Rafiki can be seen in the live show for the Disney Dream cruise ship. Rafiki is one of the "magic makers" to help an uptight father believe in magic. Rafiki is seen right after Grandmother Willow's sequence and uses the mystery of the animal kingdom to aid the father's imagination. Much like the Broadway version of The Lion King, Rafiki is portrayed by a woman.
In Adventureland, Rafiki notices a disturbance in the Circle of Life when he is informed that Scar has been revived from the dead by Hades. Rafiki also learns that Scar plans to gain immortality and destroy Adventureland. Rafiki guides the park guests on their quest to defeat the villainous lion. Rafiki also has his own spell card called "Rafiki's Wisdom Stick."
- Nephew: Nefu
- Friendly and Professional: Ahadi and Rafiki
- Friendly and Professional: Mufasa and Rafiki
- Friendly and Professional: Rafiki and Simba
- 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 that Simba is alive
- "Asante sana
We we nugu
Mi mi apana!"
- —Rafiki's chant
- "The question is: Who are you?"
- —Rafiki to Simba
- "You see. He lives in you."
- —Rafiki shows Mufasa to Simba