Published on: Dec 17, 2018

The first thing you do when you get to work is to check your emails. Usually it’s the client stuff, deadlines f*** ups, you know the kawaida. Today I got an email about a petition, honestly I didn’t know that this had actually could happen until a few days ago, the trade marking of a Swahili phrase huh? It kind of reminds you of the audacity of the ‘owning’ of black people for 400 years doesn’t it. How about the resources owned by Western Countries or the African owned companies founded by not-African, you’ll see this a lot when you start applying for funding, or the cultural dilution of the African heritage or the ‘Sound of Music’ that doesn’t have any Africanism in it. It is obvious that we look towards the west for major influences and trends. A perfect example is the Dashiki, it wasn’t that popular until Beyonce wore it.

Trademarking ‘hakuna matata’ a wakeup call?

Disneyland has been granted a US trademark over the words “Hakuna matata” vide registration number 27006605. Hakuna Matata is a Kiswahili slogan meaning no problem, no worries. This slogan is widely used in East Africa, especially the coastal region as a response to greetings.

Disneyland ‘robs’ Kenya of famous ‘Hakuna Matata’ phrase

The famous Kenyan phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’ has now been taken away and going forward one might sued or forced to pay to use it.

We are always a step behind in seeing the value of our own work or resources. Maasai blanket, something that we see hawkers selling on the street every day but all of a sudden we discovered its value when Luis Vitton (2012) used it in his fashion show as part of his collection.

Disney has trademarked the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata”.

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.

Sign this petition and get Disney to remove the trademark on Hakuna Matata


Hakuna Matata where were we when the Swahili catch phrase was being trademarked by a country that doesn’t even speak the language. You see that one step behind thing I was talking about. So what do we do now, we sign petitions. Yup! Filling that little box and clicking that share button did amazing for the Rhinos and Elephants. I guess it’s doing something, it’s not that we can actually sue them for trying to own something that is ours… When do we take action to claim what belongs to us, or do we have to wait another 400 years to do that.

Welcome to modern colonialism, where western companies own African resources, where Chinese people have their own police stations and billboards, and where African phrases are trademarked by western companies. So apart from that 10 seconds it takes you fill a petition what are you going to do about it?

Interesting read https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/01/colonialism-in-africa-is-still-alive-and-well