The Intrepid Guide has affiliate links. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing prices of keeping this site active. Many thanks for reading!

Apart from discovering what ‘Hakuna matata’ means, carry out you understand which language the from? or what ‘Simba’ means? What about the translation for the opening lines the ‘The circle of Life’?

Disney’s 1994 classic, ‘The Lion King’ had so plenty of African social and linguistic references, but sadly most of them were shed on the mean film-goer.

You are watching: What does zazu mean in swahili

After visiting South Africa, ns became more interested in afri languages, consisting of Afrikaansand the Khoisan click language.This led me to want to discover the definitions behind many of the terms supplied in the Africa based movie, The Lion King. Us all recognize the movie so well, yet at the very same time, so lot is lost in translation.

After reading this write-up you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the film after understanding the definitions behind the characters’ surname and an interpretation behind those attractive lyrics.

Let’s begin with the people you type of already know.

What walk Hakuna Matata Mean?

The many iconic expression coined through the film is there is no a doubt ‘Hakuna matata’, this expression is taken from the afri language Swahili. About translated, ‘Hakuna Matata’ method “no worries”. It is developed by the words Hakuna (‘there is no here’) and Matata (plural type of ‘problem’).

While the phrase is typically heard in Zanzibar and Kenya, it is uncommon amongst native speakers of Swahili in Tanzania, who like the expression “hamna shida” in the north and “hamna tabu” in the south.


What are‘The circle of Life’ Lyrics?

The dramatic an initial scene the the film reaches emotional heights v the accompaniment that Elton John’s ‘The circle of Life’. If the song has actually some distinctive lyrics, unless you speak the lingo, the meaning is basically lost.

The opening lines start out in Zulu before switching end to English. The song’s intro goes…

Nants ingonyama bagithi BabaSithi uhm ingonyamaNants ingonyama bagithi babaSithi uhhmm ingonyamaIngonyamaSiyo NqobaIngonyamaIngonyama nengw’ enamabala

Which means….

There come a lion, fatherOh correct it’s a lionThere come a lion, fatherOh correct it’s a lionA lionWe’re going to conquerA lionA lion and also a leopard concerned this open place

From this point, the tune segues into English lyrics which you probably understand by heart.


The translate into of this song might sound nice underwhelming but there’s more to it. The loosely translated line ‘There comes a lion’ the speaker of this sentence is speaking to an adult male whom that respects and also refers to together ‘baba’, which means ‘father’ but in Zulu culture, that is seen as respectful to describe one’s betters as mother or father.

The lion, in this instance, have the right to beseen together symbolic of adversity as ‘The Lion King’ is based on the Masai heritage of having actually the young men kill a lion as soon as they come the age. The speak at this allude would for this reason be a young Masai man prior to his initiation.

What carry out the Characters’ surname Mean?

Did you understand that every of the characters names have their own meaning?

As with many characters in Lion King, Pumbaa’s surname derives from the eastern African language Swahili. In Swahili, Pumbaa way to be foolish, silly, weak-minded, careless, negligent.


Timon is one of the couple of characters who name has actually no an interpretation in Swahili. Instead, Timon is a historical Greek name meaning “he that respects”. Timon’s surname may also possibly derive from Shakespeare’s tragedy Timon that Athens which would be one more Shakespeare referral in a movie which beginning its plot from Hamlet.


Here is a list of other names and also their meanings:

Rafiki, the mandrill, is an additional Swahili name meaning ‘friend’.

Simba way ‘lion’.

While Sarabi, Simba’s mother, means ‘mirage’.


Nala method ‘gift’.

For the hyenas, Shenzi way ‘savage’ and also Banzai way ‘to skulk’ or ‘lurk’.


All other names are real Swahili names.

What is Rafiki singing About?

When Rafiki’s learn’s Simba is still alive and see him in the areas he sings a track repeatedly. Clock below.

The lyrics ‘Asante sana, squash banana, we we nuga, mi mi apana’ means ‘thank you an extremely much, squash banana, you’re a baboon and I’m not’.

As the Genius annotations explain, it’s significant that the opened of the track is sung in Zulu, a language of southern Africa, while every the characters’ names in space in Swahili, a language the eastern and also southeastern Africa.

Some the the story’s elements also pull indigenous Masai tradition, which has actually its own language and so, “The Lion King” is less a product that one country than the pan-Africanism and of universal values.

So, currently that you understand the an interpretation behind the lyrics and character names, why not clock the movie again?

Want to have actually fun whilst finding out African language choose Swahili and Zulu? Struggling to find decent Swahili and also Zulu language resources? i recommend acquiring uTalk. Obtainable as a desktop site and also app, uTalk is awesome because that learning an essential words and phrases, particularly if you desire to use it for take trip purposes. It’s good for beginners obtaining started in a language and also invaluable for intermediates spring to fill in gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation.

What i love most about uTalk is that you deserve to jump roughly their comprehensive library the topics and also choose what you want to learn, as soon as you want, and also at your own pace. Due to the fact that I think in uTalk therefore much, I got to out to them and we’ve teamed increase to market you an exclude, 30% OFF leader discount across all of uTalk’s 140 languages! This offer isn’t easily accessible anywhere else! Click here to insurance claim your exclusive 30% discount on Zulu or 30% turn off Swahili.

Going to south Africa? Don’t miss these

Want come know more about discovering languages? start here!

Sources Business Insider/Wikipedia

Over to you!

Did you know the definition of these names? Let me understand using thecomments section listed below or sign up with me on society media to start a conversation.

Thanks for reading and I expect you appreciated this post.

See more: Before Mitosis Can Take Place, What Has To Happen Before Mitosis Can Begin ?

Like what girlfriend see? Subscribe utilizing the kind below come have all of my posts delivered straight to your email.