Lion King petition accuses Disney of "robbery" over ‘hakuna matata’ trademark

More than 74,500 people have signed a petition asking Disney to drop its trademark for the famous phrase hakuna matata from The Lion King.

The petition was set up ahead of the live-action remake, which is out next year, accuses Disney of "colonialism and robbery" for trademarking the Swahili phrase.

Hakuna matata translates as "no worries" or "no problems" in the East African language.

The phrase originally featured in the original 1994 animation when Timon and Pumba sang the song of the same name.

It was then that Disney applied to trademark the catchphrase and it was registered in 2003.

The petition now calls on Disney to drop the trademark saying it insults “not only the spirit of the Swahili people but also, Africa as a whole”.

It continues: “‘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’,” the petition reads.

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

Twitter users joined the fray saying it was "colonialism" and "robbery".

“Which bright spark at #Disney thought it was a good idea to try and trademark #HakunaMatata?"

“How do White US companies think they can trademark someone else’s culture. Oh right, colonialism. Petition signed #LionKing.”

“Where does Disney get off trying to trademark a phrase from an entire language? ‘Hakuna Matata’ existed eons before Lion King.”

The live-action movie is out next year and boasts a star studded cast with Beyonce voicing Nala and Donald Glover as Simba.

James Earl Jones returns as Mufasa.

Mirror Online has contacted Disney for comment.

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