The Meaning of The Lion King’s “Hakuna Matata”

The Lion King (1994)

Many have seen Disney’s The Lion King and heard the famous meercat and hog duo Timon & Pumbaa sing “Hakuna Matata”, which they say “means no worries”.

As it turns out, Disney got their facts straight with this one, and “hakuna matata” does indeed mean no worries. The phrase originates in the Swahili language and roughly translates to “there are no troubles”, which is exactly how the lovable Timon & Pumbaa used it in the movie.

The song was written by Elton John and Tim Rice, who collaborated on the soundtrack for the entire movie. This included classics like “The Circle Of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” and of course, “Hakuna Matata,” which won them an Academy Award for Best Original Song (several of them were nominated).

Use of the phrase became so popular that it ended up annoying the people of East Africa who say it in native speech, as tourists to the region began saying it incessantly after seeing the movie. As a result, the people started using another phrase with a similar translation, which is “hamna shida”. This one hasn’t caught on with the tourists quite yet.

The Lion King (1994)

Even before The Lion King‘s release in 1994, “hakuna matata” was already popular in Kenyan pop-culture thanks to the use of the phrase in the song “Jambo Bwana,” originally recorded by the band Them Mushrooms in 1982.

Nowadays, Americans often use the phrase as a way of saying “it’s all good,” as a lighthearted way of encouraging themselves or loved ones to keep their heads up during hard times.

We all know the famous scene from The Lion King, when Simba is in exile from the Pride Lands after the death of Mufasa. He is downtrodden in the desert where he meets the silly characters of Timon & Pumbaa. The duo sing him their wonderful jingle, “Hakuna Matata” as they travel through the jungle.

Watch the famous scene below, and see the full lyrics to “Hakuna Matata” below that.

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

Why, when he was a young warthog
When I was a young wart-hoooog!
Very nice!
Thanks!
He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal
He could clear the Savannah after every meal
I’m a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned
And it hurt that my friends never stood downwind
And oh, the shame
(He was ashamed!)
Thought of changin’ my name
(Oh, what’s in a name?)
And I got downhearted
(How did you feel?)
Every time that I-
Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
Oh… sorry

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries
For the rest of your days
Yeah, sing it, kid!
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
HakunaIt means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata

Lyrics to “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King.
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