Say no to Disney trademarking Hakuna Matata

Once upon a time, a teacher asked his students. “Who discovered Mount Kenya?” Several hands shot up. The teacher then asked Kip, one of the students whose hands didn’t go up. “Why is your hand down?” The student answered, “because I don’t know who discovered Mount Kenya.” The teacher then asked another of the students whose hand was up, and he answered, “Johann Ludwig Krapf.”

Kip is right. No one knows who discovered Mt Kenya. So, let me rephrase the question, “who was the first European person to discover Mt Kenya?” And the penny dropped. Of course, the first person to discover Mt Kenya must be some Kenyan who lived on the slopes – and there are several different tribes that live on the slope depending on which side one is facing.

Why is it so easy to disregard Africans and their discoveries and heritage?

Now I hear Disney has trademarked Hakuna Matata. Kiswahili is older than Disney and the phrase Hakuna Matata is a legitimate sentence that has been said to death even before Walt Disney was born. They argue that it’s because they popularised it with Lion King, I argue that Them Mushrooms popularised it in the early 1990s with their hit song ‘Jambo Bwana’ – before Mufasa and his family learnt to speak and sing.

I wonder if Disney consulted anyone in Kenya or Tanzania before trademarking the phrase, you know, guys like brandKenya.

For the record, I will not throw away my Hakuna Matata t-shirts and I will use the phrase every chance I get. Someone tell @Disney

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