There has been a petition against DisneyÂs Âhakuna matataÂ trade mark which has attracted over 50,000 signatures. The abovementioned Swahilian phrase which translates to Âno problemÂ is the title of a song in the 1994 animated film, The Lion King. Â Disney had applied to register the said trade mark in 1994 in order to prevent the phrase being employed for unofficial merchandise. The trade mark was finally approved in 2003 and is still a valid mark.
Shelton Mpala, a Zimbabwean activist has initiated a petition against Disney that likens the trade mark to Âcolonialism and robberyÂ. In his statement, he articulates the following: ÂJoin us and say NO to DISNEY or any corporations/individuals looking to trademark languages, terms or phrases they didnÂt invent. ÂHakuna matataÂ is a Swahili language phrase from East Africa translate, it means Âno troubleÂ. The word ÂhakunaÂ means Âthere is not hereÂ while ÂmatataÂ means ÂproblemsÂ. 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. Disney canÂt be allowed to trademark something that it didnÂt inventÂ.
The petition organiser seems to be on a mission to induce the multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate to abandon its Âhakuna matataÂ trade mark. We eagerly await the latterÂs response to the petition.