Rafiki quotes: Lion King character’s best sayings - as Boris Johnson quotes him amid staff resignations

Rafiki, a supporting character in The Lion King, is known for his wise sayings

Boris Johnson was inspired by The Lion King as he told staff “change is good” after No 10 was rocked by five resignations.

The Prime Minister channelled the philosopher monkey Rafiki in the Disney film as he tried to boost morale in a speech to aides on Friday morning.

Munira Mirza had quit in anger over his use of a false Jimmy Savile smear against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, while under pressure over allegations of lockdown breaches in No 10.

Boris Johnson quoted from The Lion King after No 10 was rocked by five resignations.

Chief of staff Dan Rosenfield followed, as did principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and communications director Jack Doyle, who were all implicated in the partygate scandal.

It continued on Friday when policy adviser Elena Narozanski quit, further adding to the turmoil as Mr Johnson clings onto power.

Here what you need to know about what was said, and a look at some of Rafiki’s best quotes in the Lion King.

Boris Johnson quoted from the Lion King.

What did Boris Johnson say to staff?

Downing Street said Mr Johnson acknowledges the “challenging” situation after the resignation of one of his longest-serving advisers, Munira Mirza.

Speaking to staff in the Cabinet Room as others tuned in on Zoom, the Prime Minister said: “As Rafiki in The Lion King says, change is good, and change is necessary even though it’s tough.”

Speaking to journalists, his official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has acknowledged it’s a challenging time as we go through a period of change but as he reiterated to the whole team today, there is an important job to do, the public expects us to be focused on it, whether it is the situation in Ukraine, recovering from the pandemic or, as the Chancellor was setting out yesterday, on issues such as cost of living.”

Rafiki from The Lion King.

Who is Rafiki and what are his best sayings?

Rafiki, who is a mandrill, is a supporting character in the The Lion King and its sequels and is a shaman and adviser to future kings. He is a close friend of Mustafa, and ultimately acts as a mentor, to Simba. The film was originally released in 1994, however there was a remake in 2019.

The quote Mr Johnson used comes from a scene in The Lion King after main character Simba flees his pride following his father’s death, orchestrated by his evil uncle Scar, with the mandrill convincing Simba to return and take his rightful place as king.

And it’s little wonder Boris Johnson decided to name drop Rafiki in his address to staff. The mandrill, whose name means friend, is known for his sage advice. And if the embattled Prime Minister is looking for more words of wisdom from the Disney character there are plenty to choose from.

Here are a few of Rafiki’s most inspiring quotes:

  • ‘The question is: who are you?’
  • ‘The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.’
  • ‘Can’t cut it out, it will grow right back.’
  • ‘I’m not the one who is confused, you’re the one who doesn’t even know who you are.’
  • ‘Don’t dawdle... Hurry up’
  • ‘My work here is done’
  • ‘Hakuna Matata. It means ‘no worries’
The Lion KIng.

Has Boris Johnson ever watched the Lion King?

While we don’t know for sure - he is certainly familiar enough with it to quote Rafiki.

Asked if Mr Johnson has seen the film, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I don’t know.”

Mr Johnson was also said to have given his familiar “half-time pep talk” in which he talks about spitting out the “orange peel” and getting back on the “pitch”.

He delivered that same message to his Cabinet in September last year after carrying out a ruthless cull of his top team.

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