On ‘THE FATHER FIGURE’ By Mercy Karumba

When you think about 'The Father Figure', what springs to mind? A father figure can be a biological father or a 'Godfather', a man who takes the role...

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When you think about ‘The Father Figure’, what springs to mind?

A father figure can be a biological father or a ‘Godfather’, a man who takes the role of a father despite not having siring the child.

I watched the Lion King for the first time when I was 8, and it is one of the films which have remained etched in my mind to date.

“The Lion King takes place in the Pride Lands of Africa, where a lion rules over the other animals as king. As dawn breaks, all the animals of the Pride Lands are summoned to Pride Rock, the home of the pride of lions. Mufasa, the King of the Jungle together with his mate Sarabi, to show off their newborn cub, Simba, as the animals cheer and bow down to their future King. Meanwhile, Scar (Mufasa’s younger brother), sulks to himself; sad that there is no hope of him being King, now that Mufasa has an heir.

As Simba grows into a youth, he is excited about the thought of being a future King. He asks his father to show him the lands he will rule over. Mufasa demonstrates from the top of Pride Rock that everything that touches the light is their Kingdom except for a place on the horizon that is covered in shadow, and he forbids Simba from going there. However, Scar later on, asks Simba whether Mufasa had showed him the shadow place where only the bravest lions venture. With an intention to build curiosity in Simba, Scar feigns an accidental slip of the tongue by saying that it’s an elephant graveyard, but Praises Simba’s cleverness. He asks Simba never to explore the place but smiles knowing that curiosity will get the better of Simba.

Simba meets with his friend Nala, a young Lioness and convinces her to join him in this new place he has discovered. The two are accompanied by Zazu the hornbill and they go to the Elephant Graveyard. They are attacked by hyenas and Simba tries to roar to scare the hyenas but the hyenas laugh at him telling him to try again. A real roar is heard as Mufasa appears and attacks the hyenas. He furiously reprimands Simba for being disobedient as Simba apologizes explaining that he was trying to be brave like his father. In the graveyard, Scar is irritated that the hyenas could not eliminate the cubs and he devises another plan.

The following day, Scar escorts Simba through a gorge and puts him near a rock, lying to him that Mufasa has a surprise for him. Suddenly, there appears a heard of Wildebeest charging towards Simba, while Scar warns Mufasa that there is a stampede in the gorge and Simba is down there. Simba manages to get hold of a broken tree while Mufasa comes to his rescue. He grabs Simba in his mouth and carries him to safety but he is pulled back by the charging animals. Simba watches helplessly as his father leaps to the side of the gorge, digging his claws to the ground. Mufasa near the top pleads for help from Scar, who mocks him before pushing him off. Simba discovers Mufasa beneath a broken tree, dead. As he mourns his father, Scar blames Simba for Mufasa’s death and this makes Simba run away in guilt, never to return.

Scar reports that Simba and Mufasa perished in the Stampede and he assumes the role of King at Pride Rock. After staying in the desert for a while, Simba realizes that he has a decision to make, whether to live the carefree life he had gotten accustomed to, or to go back to Pride Rock and reclaim his kingdom as his father had mentored him. The Pride Lands had been reduced to wastelands under Scar’s rule. Simba decides to go back and with the help of his newly found friends Timon and Pumba, he reunites with Nala and together they violently take over the Kingdom Scar, fulfilling his lifelong dream.”

The relationship between Mufasa (the father) who was the Lion King in Pride Rock and Simba (his son) is one that left us in awe. Who would have thought that animals can experience real parenthood as we humans do? Mufasa and Scar, play the role of a father-figure but in two contrasting attributes.

Mufasa is a father who has the best interests of Simba and he helps him grow under his mentorship. He portrays a brave father and Simba wants to emulate his father’s bravery. Children and even adults desire to have that mentor they can emulate. Mufasa also acts as a protector and is always coming to Simba’s rescue even putting his own life at risk. He dies trying to rescue Simba from the Stampede. Scar on the hand, is always leading Simba in to trouble trying to eliminate him by putting him in danger. A real father figure tries to protect either through advice and even physical protection where need be. Sadly in the reality of life, there are fathers on the fore-front introducing the young men and women to lifestyle habits that lead to addictions such as drugs instead of being the protector. A real father-figure helps the young person achieve their dreams. Mufasa kept reminding Simba that he would one day become the King of the Jungle and he taught him how to become that King. This is what motivated Simba to come back to Pride Rock and achieve his dream.

Whether a biological father or not. A father-figure who is responsible and intentional plays a big role in the development and future of a child.This is not just for males, as demonstrated in the Lion King but ladies as well. Are you a father-figure to someone and on what scale do you gauge yourself? Is there that person who has been that father-figure and you owe them a lot because of who you are today?   To get a male perspective on this please read Mitchell’s post HERE

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