Petition against Disney’s trademark of ‘hakuna matata’ attracts over 30,000 signatures

The trademark was approved in 2003 and remains active

A petition against Disney‘s trademark of the words “hakuna matata” has attracted over 30,000 signatures.

The Swahilian phrase means “no problem” and is the title of a song in the 1994 animated film The Lion King.

Disney applied for the trademark in 1994 in order to stop the phrase being used on unofficial merchandise. According to NPR, the trademark was approved in 2003 and remains active.


Zimbabwean activist Shelton Mpala has launched a petition against Disney that likens the trademark to “colonialism and robbery”. You can view the petition here.

The full petition statement reads: “I liken this to colonialism and robbery, the appropriation of something you have no right over. Imagine, “If we were to go that route, then we owe the British royalties for everyone who speaks English, or France for when we speak French.

“Join us and say NO to DISNEY or any corporations/individuals looking to trademark languages, terms or phrases they didn’t invent.

“Hakuna matata” is a Swahili language phrase from East Africa; translate, it means “no trouble”. The word “hakuna” means “there is not here” while “matata” means “problems”.

“Hakuna Matata has been used by most Kiswahili-speaking countries suchs as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


“Disney can’t be allowed to trademark something that it didn’t invent. ”

Meanwhile, the first trailer for the forthcoming live-action remake of The Lion King has arrived – and it’s already splitting movie fans right down the middle. The trailer became Disney’s most-watched trailer debut of all time

Disney’s CGI-driven remake of the classic 1994 animated film is slated for release on July 19, 2019. An all-star voice cast has been assembled for the movie, including Donald Glover as adult Simba and Beyoncé as adult Nala.