Hakuna Matata Definition and Meaning
Hakuna Matata is a phrase from the Swahili or Swahili language, a language spoken in East Africa, which has been influenced by Arabic and other languages. The expression Hakuna means ‘there is not’, and the expression kills means ‘problems’. Therefore, the phrase literally means ‘no problem’. It is widely used in countries such as Zanzibar, Tanzania and Kenya to indicate ‘everything is fine’ or ‘don’t worry, be happy’.
This phrase was popularized thanks to the animated musical film The Lion King , released by the Disney studios in 1994. Hakuna Matata was, in effect, the title of one of the most emblematic songs of the film. However, it was not the first time in history that the phrase was used in a song.
Before that, a Kenyan singer named Teddy Kalanda had composed and recorded in 1982 a song called Kenya hakuna matata, which sold more than 200 thousand copies and became a reference in the region and beyond. Probably from there the Disney studios have taken inspiration.
Frequently this expression has been related to the phrase carpe diem , of Latin origin. This phrase was also popularized by a film a few years earlier, known as The Society of Dead Poets (1989). When Hakuna matata appeared, many considered her an African version of carpe diem.
Hakuna matata in The Lion King
The Hakuna Matata piece of the Lion King was written by Tim Rice and the music was prepared by Eltohn John. Not only did it quickly become an international success, but it was nominated for an Oscar for best film song, along with two other themes of this musical, also by Elthon John: Can You Feel the Love Toninght and Circle of Life.
The film tells the story of a lion named Simba, son of King Mufasa and heir to the throne. Simba loses his father in a tragic accident for which he believes he is responsible. Deceived and pressured by his evil uncle Scar, truly guilty of the king’s death, he decides to flee.
A wild boar named Pumba and a meerkat called Timon, find Simba passed out in the sun, so they decide to rescue him and become his friends. Timón as Pumba, also isolated from their herds, teach the young lion his philosophy, learned from the experience of living outside society, singing the song Hakuna Matata. At first, Simba observes her as a teaching contrary to her father’s philosophy, but soon she is seduced by the idea of leaving her past behind and enjoying the present.
The text of the main refrain, in its translation into Spanish (Mexican dubbing version), reads as follows:
Hakuna matata , a way of being
Hakuna matata , nothing to fear
Without worrying is how you have to live
Living like this, I learned here