One of the actors from The Lion King is calling out Meghan Markle!
As we reported earlier this week, the 41-year-old duchess recalled to The Cut how a South African cast member from the Disney film told her at the 2019 premiere that the country “rejoiced in the streets” when she married Prince Harry – the same way they did when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. Her comment quickly raised the eyebrows of many people – including the legendary activist’s grandson Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela.
And now, one of the actors from the movie is speaking out about the situation — and did not hold back! Dr. John Kani told Dailymail.com on Wednesday that he was the only South African star who took part in the film, swearing he never met Meghan since he was not at the London premiere! What?! The 79-year-old explained to the outlet:
“I have never met Meghan Markle. This seems like something of a faux pas by her. 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. 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.”
However, John did note Lebo M., a South African composer who created the music with Hans Zimmer for the animated film, was also involved in The Lion King remake, so he feels it could have just been a mix-up on her part. He detailed:
“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 mis-remembering 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 Beyoncé plays Nala.”
As for her remarks about her wedding to Harry being such a celebration for the country? The Black Panther star insisted it was not a “big deal.” In fact, he couldn’t recall anyone commemorating their nuptials on the same scale as the “landmark moment” of Nelson Mandela’s release:
“I cannot even tell you now what month she married or what year. 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.”
He added the two events couldn’t even be “spoken in the same breath,” recalling:
“The world stopped in February 11 1990. The entire country and most of the people born in the seventies didn’t know what Mr Mandela looked like. When the gates of Pollsmoor (Prison) opened, the entire South African nation, the entire African continent and the world were glued. We only realised that he (Mr Mandela) was the one walking next to Winnie (his wife of the time) when he raised his hand and we said ‘Oh, that’s him’ because none of us had seen Mr Mandela since 1964. That was a world event. Surely Miss Meghan or whatever marrying into royalty cannot in any way be spoken in the same breath or even the same sentence as that moment.”
John went on to express his confusion over the whole situation, saying:
“It lives in our memories forever to the world. It is a kind of ‘Where were you when JFK was shot…where were you when Nelson Mandela was released?’ You can’t really say where you were when Meghan married Harry. I am confused about this. She is an important person in her own life.”
“But there are various opinions all over the world about them severing their ties with the Royal Family and Harry not being able to serve and do his normal duties and their moving to America and the interviews with Oprah Winfrey and all that. We’ve been following that story with interest really, but that is all. But beyond that, I don’t know her, never met her and wasn’t in London and I am the only South African actor in The Lion King.”
Despite the controversial comment from Meghan, John ultimately does not think the comparison was an “insult” to South Africa:
“There were so many people that came to South Africa who just wanted to meet with Nelson Mandela. At one stage we were so bored about it, that we wanted to do a Mandela cardboard cut-out so that they could take a picture with the cardboard cut-out. Mr Mandela was an enigma to South Africa and he was an elder. There was that added cultural dimension in meeting with him. You knew you were meeting an elder, more as a father than as a President. We used to call him ‘Dada’ which means Daddy. I really wouldn’t want to call it an insult. It must be a faux pas. There is something Meghan is mixing up with.”
Wonder what Meghan has to say about all of this… Reactions, Perezcious readers? Do you think this was simply a mishap or do you believe the ex-royal lied in her interview? We can’t imagine she wanted such an awkward situation to come following her reveal! Sound OFF with your thoughts on the controversy in the comments (below).
[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN, MEGA/WENN]