lion king hakuna matata

Petition Calls for Disney to Drop ‘Hakuna Matata’ Trademark in Colonialism Controversy

The Guardian reports that over 60,000 people have signed a petition accusing Disney of “colonialism and robbery” after it trademarked the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata.”


The expression meaning “no worries” was used in the 1994 version of the Lion King but was initially popularized by the Kenyan band, Them Mushrooms. The phrase was featured in their platinum-selling single, Jambo Bwana, in 1982.


Professor Kimani Njogu, who chairs a creative economy working group in Kenya, suggested that Disney’s trademark was unethical.


“These big companies located in the north are taking advantage of cultural expressions and lifestyles and cultural goods coming from Africa.” Njogu said.


The phrase is popular across east Africa and featured on merchandise sold to tourists. Njogu added that it is unfair for Kenyans to be unable to sell similar products in the US because of Disney’s trademark.





Featured Image via The Guardian