Many have described the move Disney made to trademark the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata” as another colonial act by an American Company.
“Hakuna Matata” is a Swahili phrase which means “No Problem” and it’s one of the catchphrases that worldwide lovers of the Lion King animation movie identify with the most.
As Disney prepares to release the live-action remake of the movie, “The Lion King” which stars Beyonce, the production company took steps to successfully trademark the phrase.
The news of Disney’s move sparked outrage and now a Zimbabwean activist called Shelton Mpala has called Disney’s move an act of “colonialism and robbery”.
To get Disney to reverse their trademark, Mpala started an online petition which has now gathered more than 51K signatures. Its target is to gather 75,000 signatures.
“Hakuna Matata has been used by most Kiswahili-speaking countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Mpala said in his online petition.
“Disney can’t be allowed to trademark something that it didn’t invent,” he said.
Disney just made the already existing and commonly used phrase more popular by introducing it to a worldwide audience, however, long before that the people who speak Swahili have been using that phrase in their daily life routines.
Disney has indeed robbed Swahili of “Hakuna Matata” and you can join the online fight to get them to reverse their trademark.
See below for views from people on Disney trademarking “Hakuna Matata”…
You can sign the petition here too.