South African actor casts doubt over Meghan Markle's Mandela claim after revealing he has never met Duchess

Meghan Markle claimed an actor told her that her wedding to Prince Harry was "rejoiced" in South Africa in scenes reminiscent of Nelson Mandela's release from prison

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A respected actor and personal friend of Nelson Mandela, Dr John Kani, has appeared to expose Meghan Markle's claim that she was told that her marriage to Prince Harry was "rejoiced" in South Africa in the same way as Madiba's release from prison was.

In an interview with The Cut, the 41-year-old is reported as saying that a male South African cast member of The Lion King told her that her nuptials to the Duke of Sussex were celebrated like Nelson Mandela's re-entry into society.

She said: "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.'"

South African actor Dr John Kani
South African actor Dr John Kani

But Dr John Kani, the only South African cast member in the Disney remake of The Lion King, says he has never met the Duchess of Sussex, nor was he at the event she claims was the scene of the conversation.

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Kani said: "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."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at the European Premiere of Disney's The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square, where Meghan Markle alleges she was told her wedding to Prince Harry was celebrated like Nelson Mandela's release from prison.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at the European Premiere of Disney's The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square, where Meghan Markle alleges she was told her wedding to Prince Harry was celebrated like Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

He continued: "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 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 Beyonce plays Nala."

Pouring further cold water on the former Suits actress' claims, Dr Kani, who himself has appeared in Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War, dismissed the idea that the royal wedding between Harry and Meghan was met with public acclaim.

He said: "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."