This isn’t the first time Disney has cashed in on a part of African culture. In 2006, the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” also from The Lion King, was the subject of a lawsuit. First recorded in 1939 by South African Solomon Linda, the song was covered by about 150 artists and eventually Disney.  Linda signed over the rights for a few shillings and job sweeping floors in Gallo studios in Johannesburg.

Linda’s children fought his exploitation and won, but countless other African cultural artifacts have never benefitted their original creators. While the Linda family had a paper trail and a clear plaintiff, kiSwahili speakers may have to find a different means to pursue their case.

“Kiswahili is spoken throughout [the East African community] and it would be unreasonable for one particular country to claim ownership of the language. However, some words form part of our heritage and ought to be protected where possible,” wrote Kenyan lawyer Cathy Mputhia.

As was the case with Linda, what Mputhia calls the “pilferage of African culture” has occurred through unjust laws. Now, the onus for fighting for the trademark would fall on state agencies or the regional bloc to use contemporary intellectual property laws to protect indigenous cultural artifacts, argues Mputhia.

Disney isn’t the only one reportedly trying to cash in on “hakuna matata.” Bloggers Afro-IP found that a Chinese company filed a trademark for use of the phrase on toys and balloons in November.

Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.