The petition launched on the Internet platform change.org against Disney using the phrase “Hakuna Matata” as a name for its brand has racked up over 150,000 votes to date.
“Hakuna Matata” is the Swahili for “no trouble,” which is used in the majority of countries where Swahili is spoken – in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and The Democratic Republic of Kongo. However, it rings a bell with many more due to the soundtrack for Disney’s iconic cartoon production “The Lion King,” featuring a song with the same name.
The authors of the petition believe that corporations and individuals alike do not have the right to register as trademarks languages, terms and phrases, which they themselves did not invent. On top it, they deem such a move as insulting, and call for the company to reject the previously adopted trademark.
“While we respect Disney as an entertainment institution responsible for creating many of our childhood memories, the decision to trademark “Hakuna Matata” is predicated purely on greed and is an insult not only the spirit of the Swahili people but also, Africa as a whole,” the petition has it.
According to a report in The New York Times, Disney officially registered the trademark Hakuna Matata in 1994. Responding to the petition, a company representative stated that the existence of the trademark had never hindered and would never hamper the use of this phrase.