“Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase”, time to acquire it, the suits at Disney must have thought. Well, they patented it, and, as it turns out, the famous line from the 1994 box office smash hit The Lion King, is from Swahili, East Africa. So now Disney is being accused of something approximating colonialism.
Over 121.000 (and rapidly counting) people have signed a petition accusing Disney. The petition, created by Zimbabwean activist Shelton Mpala, was “to draw attention to the appropriation of African culture and the importance of protecting our heritage, identity and culture from being exploited for financial gain by third parties. This plundered artwork serves to enrich or benefit these museums and corporations and not the creators or people it’s derived from.” Mpala also stated that “the decision to trademark ‘Hakuna Matata’ is predicated purely on greed and is an insult not only the spirit of the Swahili people but also, Africa as a whole.”
Poor Disney, being accused of political correctness and colonialism in the same year. It’s not easy being woke. Next year, Jon Favreau’s live-action version of The Lion King will premiere (awesome trailer below). One wonders if the in-house diversity police at Disney will include the song.