Duma is the central character of the 2005 adventure film of the same name. He is a cheetah who was adopted by a boy named Xan until he was released into the wild with the help of Ripkuna.

He was portrayed by Anthony, Azaro, Nikita Nakal, Sasha and Savannah as an adult and by Sheba as a cub.

Role

In the grasslands of South Africa, Duma lived with his mother and his two siblings. However, one day, they are stalked by a pride of lions and their mother is killed, leaving them orphaned. His two siblings walk away in sadness and Duma walks out onto a road the following night, where he comes across Xan and his father, Peter riding by. They decide to adopt the cub and they take him home. Xan gives Duma his name and they form a strong bond.

As Duma grows up, Peter informs Xan that Duma has to return to the wild before he's too old, as he was born a wild animal. Unfortunately, Peter dies of an illness and Kristin decides to move to Johannesburg to live with Aunt Gwen. Kristin suggests on putting Duma into a reserve, much to Xan's dismay. Kristin informs Gwen that the man from the reserve will arrive in two days and takes Xan to his new school. After Duma watches some television, he startles Gwen and she flees the room. This allows Duma to leave the hotel and follow Kristin to the school. The students flee from Duma and he scares away a trio of kids bullying Xan. The two of them flee the city and head off to the wilderness on Peter's motorcycle to avoid Duma from being put into captivity.

They eventually run out of gas and travel throughout the salt pans until they come across a plane wreck and settle there. Later, Duma encounters a bush baby and notices a traveller named Ripkuna walking by. As Rip tries to use the motorcycle, Xan wakes up and confronts him. They tell each other where they're going and Rip feeds Xan water. They introduce each other and Xan finds the same bush baby in his pocket. Rip names it "Mashaka" and states that their destination is only a few days away. They travel through the salt pans by using the motorcycle as a desert sailboat until they stop to find water. Duma finds a stock of ostrich eggs and they camp. The next morning, they arrive at an abandoned village and hide from Kristin searching for them in a helicopter. That night, while they're camping, Rip points out that the reason for a cheetah's black streaks is due to a prophecy about how a mother cheetah lost her cub and cried so much as a result.

The next morning, they arrive at an abandoned diamond mine and Rip heads in. Xan becomes suspicious of Rip and they try to leave until Rip is caved in. Xan manages to partially free Rip and abandons him as he accuses him of scamming them. Xan and Duma leave the mine together and come across the Thamalakane River. The next day, Xan builds a raft and Duma reluctantly follows him after witnessing a bird getting devoured by a nearby crocodile. As they ride on the raft, they are knocked off by the rapids and are pursued by the crocodiles, but manage to escape.

They later encounter a herd of cape buffaloes, but Duma is chased away and they get separated. Duma gets lost in the woods and is caught in a poacher's trap. Fortunately, he is eventually rescued by Rip, who later manages to save Xan from a boar. Xan apologizes to Rip for leaving him and Rip admits that he did want the money. Duma unsuccessfully hunts a gazelle, but they come across a party and scare the tourists away with a black mamba. They steal the food and cross a river on a boat. After Xan and Rip trade each other, they arrive on land and Duma finds a gazelle carcass, but refuses to share with them. After Duma finishes his meal, Rip gives his hat to Duma and they arrive at a cave that Rip's grandfather showed him.

They finally arrive at the Erongo Mountains, but are attacked by a swarm of tsetse flies. Rip protects Xan from their lethal bite as they are bitten by hundreds of flies. The following night, Rip soon develops sleeping sickness and Duma notices that they are being stalked by lions, but Xan and Rip manage to build a fire and the lions back away. Xan ties Duma to a leash and heads out to get help, while being followed by the lions. However, Duma breaks free and leads the lions away. Duma manages to lose the pride and calls out to a nearby cheetah. Duma finds the cheetah and they are happy to see each other, as it turns out that the cheetah is his long-lost brother. Meanwhile, Xan manages to find Rip's family in a nearby village and they cure Rip.

After Duma and his brother successfully hunt down a gazelle, Xan manages to find them. Duma eventually comes over and Xan parts ways with him. The two cheetahs continue playing with each other as they watch Xan leave with Rip. Afterwards, Xan returns to his farm and Duma now runs freely with his brother in the wild.

Trivia

  • His name is Swahili for "cheetah".
  • He is unrelated to the 1989 live-action Disney movie Cheetah, which also involves a cheetah.
  • All the cheetahs who played Duma were orphaned or poached cheetahs who were raised in various parts of Africa.
  • One of the cheetahs who played Duma had a visible scar that stretches from between the eyes to the right side of the snout.
  • In real-life, the cheetah's name was "Dooms", and he was adopted before Xan Hopcraft was born. He died when Xan was 7 years old and he and his mother wrote a children's memoir about his life with Dooms.

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