- "Wanaowalaani, Hodari! I can get around just fine, just because I can't hunt well, doesn't mean I can't walk."
- ―Kumbufu, Strength of Heart
Kumbufu has soft light golden brown fur, paler on her muzzle and underbelly. Her nose is brown, and the tuft at the end of her tail is dark brown. Her eyes, too, are brown, as is her nose. She is built compactly, and moves somewhat inelegantly due to her deformed hind paw, which is twisted and small. Her front legs are quite muscular, and her claws taper sharply. Her eyes are deep-set into her face, which is broad and has a slightly flattened appearance due to her short, square muzzle and wide nose.
A clever lioness with a good memory, Kumbufu has found ways to help the pride despite her imperfect paw. She memorizes the paths of the antelope herds and relays them to the lionesses so they know where the best places to hunt are and when, and she has begun to teach herself about healing. She takes pride in these talents, and will boast about them occasionally. She is quite sympathetic and helpful towards lionesses that injure themselves and have to sit out of the hunt. She is, however, impatient and anxious herself while she waits alone with the lions for the lionesses to return from their hunts.
Kumbufu was born into the pride. With her paw being deformed as it was, the Hodari, a young king at the time, was not sure about allowing her to hunt. As an adolescent, she tried her best, but she soon accepted that she would never be as good as the other lionesses, even if she did improve. But 'not as good' did not suit Kumbufu. Full of young energy and a desire to prove herself, she wanted to be the best.
She worked on her memory, which was already quite good. Soon, she was able to show the huntresses the best places to go. This was not enough for her, so she also learned healing from an old, friendly male hare. He was happy to teach her, and she was happy to learn. By the time Kumbufu was an adult, she had a fairly wide knowledge of healing techniques and herbs.
Kumbufu first appears grooming her hind paw. She stands and walks over to an injured Fahari, telling the lioness to lie down and let her look after guiding her to a soft patch of grass.
Later on, Hodari selects the patrols but neglects to include Kumbufu in one. The lioness asks what she is to do, and is infuriated by the pointed glance Hodari gives her deformity. She insists that she can get around fine, and he agrees to let her come with him.
They arrive at Mkondo River to ask the animals about a rogue that has been sighted. They have no luck with the zebras, so Kumbufu suggests they try asking a jackal. She adds that she has heard jackals can be liars, but they ask jackal anyway. The jackal refuses to share information until she is given food, and Kumbufu, after stepping on Hodari's paw, tells him to catch a fish.
The jackal gives them directions to the place she saw the rogue. They cross the river and head to Towe Gorge. Kumbufu almost falls in, and is saved when Hodari pulls her back. She apologizes for her stupidity, and they enter the gorge. Upon hearing something, Hodari tells Kumbufu to go around a pile of rocks on the right side.
They discover Kingiza, the rogue, and Kumbufu realizes he is not full grown. Hodari makes this observation aloud, and Kumbufu contradicts him. She tries to point to Kingiza's mane, but he snaps at her paws, forcing her to withdraw it. They eventually convince Kingiza to show them why he is refusing to leave, and he reveals three cubs to them: Nurisha, Ajali, and Macheo.
Kumbufu pulls Hodari aside and tells him that new blood is just what the pride needs. She is able to convince him, and the four young lions are brought back to the pride.
After the death of Kingiza, an injured Chekesha is presented to Kumbufu. The cub's hind legs are crushed. Kumbufu is hesitant, reminding Hodari that she usually just treats scrapes and has never faced such a task. He demands that she tries, and she agree. However, she informs him that there are some things a healer cannot fix.
When Madoa claws Hodari, Kumbufu is quick to fix him up, cleaning his wound with her tongue. She updates him on Chekesha's condition, and Kubali, Chekesha's mother, asks Kumbufu to speak up so she can hear. Kumbufu assures the lioness that she is only telling Hodari what she had already told Kumbufu.
"Lie down here, let me look."
-Kumbufu to Fahari, Strength of Heart
"Good idea! I'll remember everything they tell us, you know what a great memory I have."
-Kumbufu to Hodari, Strength of Heart