- "Sure it is, uh . . . [. . .] Right, right. Chekesha. Got to remember that."
- ―Machungwa, Strength of Heart
A lion of considerable height and width, Machungwa has chiseled features, pointed ears, and a thick, angular muzzle. His mane, which is a more brownish shade of his predominant color, is unnaturally thick. It hangs in many smaller locks around his head and bushes out in tufts on his neck. It extends all the way down to the start of his underbelly. His tail is long and curving, with a dense tuft the same color as his mane. He has smooth, fiery orange fur, paler on his muzzle and underbelly. His whiskers are short and brownish-orange, and his small eyes are hazel green. His long legs still retain some of his cubhood spots, though he is fully grown.
Though he makes an attempt to act kind, Machungwa does not really care about the troubles of others. He often pretends to be interested, but it is usually clear that he is not concerned. He is usually fairly apathetic, save his enthusiasm for fighting. He is seen as vicious do to his rather brash, brutish nature towards other animals and rogue lions. However, he is also very intelligent and fond of witticism. He is a brilliant fighter, and his teeth are certain to leave a mark if his tongue does not. He can be very scornful, jeering, and rude, especially towards strangers. Quite self-assured, he is certain that he can handle most anything.
Machungwa was born into the pride, his father being a lone lion that his mother fell in love with before joining the pride. She reared Machungwa and his sister, Zoelesha, before dying because infected wound. Machungwa did not show much grief, but did chase a pack of jackals away from her body so that the pride could have a funeral.
When Nurisha, Ajali, and Macheo are brought into the pride, Chekesha brings them over to the zebra carcass that Machungwa and Zoelesha are sharing. Machungwa looks up as they approach and, shaking locks of his mane out of his eyes, inquires about them. Chekesha asks if he thinks it's great, to which he replies that it is. He pauses near the end of his sentence, forgetting Chekesha's name. She reminds him, and he remarks that he has to remember it.
Not long after, Machungwa goes on a patrol with Hodari, Askari, and Kingiza. Machungwa and Askari wait for Kingiza and Hodari at the bottom of the slope until they arrive. They begin to walk alongside the Imeatuka Desert until they are ordered to halt by Kingiza. Machungwa obeys, as do the rest of the lions. Machungwa asks what it is, and without responding Kingiza lunges and kills a puff adder. Machungwa questions how he knew it was there, and Kingiza tells him that he heard it hiss.
On another patrol, Machungwa follows Hodari and Ushidi to the Mkondo River. Machungwa mutters a complaint as they wade into the water, and Hodari reminds him that it is necessary. Machungwa does not answer, instead stepping into the current. While swimming, Machungwa copies Hodari's movements. They enter the Uotaji Woods, do a quick check, and head back.