This article is for quizzes on Tuesday July 14th, 2015...

Rafiki, whose name means "friend" in Swahili, resembles a mandrill with an unnaturally long tail, but is likely a baboon. He lives in a baobab tree in the Pride Lands and performs shamanistic services for the lions of Pride Rock. The character often serves as the narrator of the story, especially in video games and merchandise.
In The Lion King, Rafiki is introduced in the opening scene when he travels to Pride Rock to perform newborn Simba's presentation ceremony. During the film, Rafiki sings a nonsense chant: "Asante sana, squash banana, wewe nugu, mimi hapana." This is a Swahili playground rhyme which translates to "Thank you very much (squash banana), you're a baboon and I'm not!" Like "hakuna matata" (no worries), the chant was heard by the filmmakers on their research trip to Kenya. Rafiki travels to the jungle where Simba lives with Timon and Pumbaa, and teaches him lessons about learning from the past. During the battle for Pride Rock, Rafiki saves Simba from a hyena. At the end of the film, Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub.

In the sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Rafiki is more closely involved with the affairs and politics of the prides and is often seen with the lions. Mufasa's spirit persuades him to bring Simba's daughter Kiara and Zira's son Kovu together as a way of uniting the prides. Rafiki tries to make them fall in love by singing to them about a place called "Upendi", which means "love" in Swahili. In the end, he blesses the union of Kovu and Kiara and Kovu is welcomed into the pride. Rafiki appears briefly in The Lion King 1½, teaching Timon the philosophy of "Hakuna Matata", talking to Timon's mother about her son, and later convincing Timon to follow Simba to Pride Rock to confront Scar.
In the musical, the character of Rafiki was significantly modified. Because director Julie Taymor felt that the story lacked a strong female character, Rafiki was changed into a female mandrill and sangoma. She acts as narrator throughout the story, at one point speaking to the audience in a click language for comic effect. She sings the opening song "Circle of Life", a keening song called "Rafiki Mourns" following Mufasa's death, and a brief part in Nala's song "Shadowland", when she blesses Nala for her journey to find help. Instead of detecting Simba's scent on dust, Rafiki hears Simba's song "Endless Night" on the wind. Rafiki finds Simba and shows him that his father lives on in him through the song "He Lives in You". She is present during the battle, fighting a hyena, and adorns Simba with the king's mantle after his victory. And the play ends with her presentation of Simba and Nala's cub.

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