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"Hakuna-matata" (pronounced [hɑˈkunɑ mɑˈtɑtɑ]) is a Swahili language phrase from East Africa, meaning "no trouble" or "no problems". (The word "hakuna" means "there is no/there are no", while "matata" means "troubles" or "problems".[citation needed]) The phrase was used in Disney animated film The Lion King (which features a song named after the phrase), in which it is translated as "no worries". The song is often heard at resorts, hotels, and other places appealing to the tourist trade.[clarification needed]

In 2018, Disney's trademark of the phrase in the US[1] caused controversy in East Africa.[2]

Jambo BwanaEdit

In 1982, the music of Kenyan hostel band Them Mushrooms (now known as Uyoga) released the Swahili song "Jambo Bwana"[3] ("Hello Mister"), which repeats the phrase "Hakuna matata" in its refrain. The song was written by band leader John Katana.

Jambo – Hakuna MatataEdit

In 1983, German group Boney M. released "Jambo—Hakuna Matata", an English-language version of Them Mushrooms song Jambo Bwana. Liz Mitchell provided the song's lead vocals, backed by Reggie Tsiboe, Frank Farian, Cathy Bartney, Madeleine Davis and Judy Cheeks. The single was intended to be included in the group's untitled seventh album, to be released in the fall of 1983. Due to a poor chart performance (No. 48 in the German charts), the single ultimately was not included in the album (which was completely reworked and not released until May 1984 as Ten Thousand Lightyears).

The Lion King songEdit

In 1994 the Walt Disney Animation Studios animated movie The Lion King brought the phrase international recognition, featuring it prominently in the plot and devoting a song to it. A meerkat and a warthog, Timon and Pumbaa, teach Simba that he should forget his troubled past and live in the present. The song was written by Elton John (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), who found the term in a Swahili phrasebook.[4] It was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1995 Academy Awards, and was later ranked the 99th best song in movie history by the American Film Institute on a list of 100.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "HAKUNA MATATA Trademark of Walt Disney Company, The - Registration Number 2700605 - Serial Number 74558335 :: Justia Trademarks". Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  2. ^ Ratcliffe, Rebecca (19 December 2018). "Disney accused of colonialism over 'hakuna matata' trademark". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  3. ^ Big Q Entertainment Unlimited Archived 2009-01-23 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Interview with Tim Rice, BBC News, 13 September 2011, BBC One
  5. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". Archived from the original on 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2006-08-15.