RAFIKI - SILVERBACK
Meaning of name: The name means ‘friend’ in Kiswahili
Age: Estimated to be about 17 years
Who’s yo daddy? Father unknown
Who’s yo mama? Mother unknown
Rafiki is not only a true friend to you but he is the best friend the Nkuringo family could have asked for. This is for the simple reason that, because he is not the offspring of papa Nkuringo, his contribution to the gene-pool of this gorilla family is a boost that will help in the perpetuation of healthy young gorillas for a few generations to come.
Whereas gorillas do not seem to suffer as humans do from in-breeding, it goes without saying that a fresh infusion of genes goes a long way in ensuring healthy gorilla babies.
Bravo, Rafiki, Bravo!
Enough about the sciences and more on Rafiki.
This friendly gorilla joined the Nkuringo family as a blackback in 2001. It’s likely that he had been kicked out of his original family on account of being a threat to the dominance of the silverback. It could also be that he simply hit out on his own in search of a new family he could join. However this is highly unlikely.
Whatever his background, he did not find it a problem joining himself with Nkuringo’s family. He just turned up and was taken in as one of the sons. However, that must have been Nkuringo’s influence as Safari does not hesitate to put Rafiki in his place as a subordinate.
Since Nkuringo’s death, Safari has made it very clear to Rafiki that he, Safari is the gorilla-in-chief and he will not stand for any monkey-business from Rafiki, especially where the females are concerned. Safari is clearly not a big fan of the diverse gene pool school of thought; he has been known to beat up Rafiki whenever he sees him mating with any of the females.
Rafiki’s easy going nature has presented no challenge to Safari’s leadership. However if the older silverback imagines that all the little gorillas in the family are sired by him, he had better look sharp; especially where the dame Kasotora is concerned. She has a friendly little baby, whose DNA could tell a lot about what Rafiki gets up to when Safari’s not watching.
No accolades for guessing that, true to his name, Rafiki is an amiable gorilla towards both man and beat alike.