"Hakuna matata" (pronounced [hɑˈkunɑ mɑˈtɑtɑ]) is a Swahili language phrase from Central East Africa; roughly translated, it means "no worries" ("hakuna matata" means "no trouble", while "hakuna wasiwasi" means "no worries"). The word "hakuna" means "there is not here" while "matata" means "problems". The phrase has been popularized by its use in the Disney animated film The Lion King (in which it is translated as "no worries" in a song named after the phrase), so that it is heard often at resorts, hotels, and other places appealing to the tourist trade.
In 1982, the music of Kenyan hostel band Them Mushrooms (now known as Uyoga) released the Swahili song "Jambo Bwana" ("Hello Mister"), which repeats the phrase "Hakuna matata" in its refrain. The song was written by band leader John Katana.
Jambo – Hakuna Matata
In 1983, German group Boney M. released "Jambo—Hakuna Matata", an English-language version of Them Mushrooms song Jambo Bwana. Liz Mitchell provided the song's lead vocals, backed by Reggie Tsiboe, Frank Farian, Cathy Bartney, Madeleine Davis and Judy Cheeks. The single was intended to be included in the group's untitled seventh album, to be released in the fall of 1983. Due to a poor chart performance (No. 48 in the German charts), the single ultimately was not included in the album (which was completely reworked and not released until May 1984 as Ten Thousand Lightyears).
The Lion King song
In 1994 the Walt Disney Animation Studios animated movie The Lion King brought the phrase international recognition, featuring it prominently in the plot and devoting a song to it. A meerkat and a warthog, Timon and Pumbaa, teach Simba that he should forget his troubled past and live in the present. The song was written by Elton John (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), who found the term in a Swahili phrasebook. It was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1995 Academy Awards, and was later ranked the 99th best song in movie history by the American Film Institute on a list of 100.