The only South African cast member who was in the live-action remake of the Lion King has denied ever having met Meghan Markle after she made the extraordinary claim the country had “rejoiced” when she wed Prince Harry.
Dr. John Kani said he was “baffled” by Meghan’s recent comments in which she said that a South African member of the Lion King had privately compared her to Nelson Mandela during the 2019 premier of the movie:
“He looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said, “I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison,” she told The Cut magazine over the weekend.
Kani was a friend of the South African leader who served 27 years in prison for opposing racial segregation laws in the country. He said that Mandela’s freedom was a “landmark moment” in the history of his country, while Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry was “no big deal” and that the two events “cannot be spoken in the same breath” adding “you can’t really say where you were when Meghan married Harry”.
Dr John Kani is honoured with the Dstv Legend Award. #DStvMVCA pic.twitter.com/SGOPoLIhJ0
— PopPulse (@PopPulseSA) June 25, 2022
In addition to this, the actor who played Rafiki in the movie said he had “never met” the Duchess despite her claims to have had the conversation with a South African member of the cast at the London premier:
“I have never met Meghan Markle. This seems like something of a faux pas by her. I have I have never met the Duchess at all. I am the only South African member of the cast and I did not attend the premiere in London.
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interview and knowing that Meghan was scared to come outside, after having Archie, to the Lion King premiere back in 2019. Hearing Beyoncé call Meghan ‘My Princess’ must’ve meant a lot #PrincessMeghan pic.twitter.com/QebZavw7Ka
— South asia 24×7 (@southasia24x7) August 30, 2022
“I went to Hollywood as we opened there and from there I had to go immediately to Paris where I was shooting a film sequel, so I couldn’t hang around. The only South African was me playing Rafiki. But I did not go to the opening in Leicester Square as I didn’t have the time to do that. It just may be a misremembering on her side.
“It is baffling me. I am the only South African in the cast. I play Rafiki, Seth Rogen plays Pumbaa, Donald Glover plays Simba and Beyonce plays Nala.”
He went on to reiterate that South Africans were nonplussed by the royal wedding:
“In my memory, nobody would have known when she got married, when or what. We had no South African link to the wedding or to her marrying Harry.
“I am truly surprised by this. For me it is a non-event, the whole thing.”
It comes just days after Meghan received another hammer-blow for her remarks during the exclusive interview as Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile ‘Mandla’ Mandela said the Duchess should “pull up her sleeves and better the lives of ordinary people in England and in the United Kingdom”.