Title: Should anyone really own the phrase “Hakuna Matata”?
Author: Njoki Ngumi
Media Outlet: Quartz Africa
Publish Date: January 12, 2019
“There’s an unavoidable link between this and the existence of African artifacts of dubious provenance—the Benin bronzes and the bust of Nefertiti, to name a few—in museums abroad. Again, the items belong originally to one group of people. Another group of people “obtained” and kept them for vague reasons, and quietly profit off them to this day. The conversation becomes about who can host them “properly” and who has the ability to attract larger, higher-value audiences. The parallels are thus uncanny."
This is far less about two words than it is about if African languages can even be “owned” in the West. What do global storytellers—industrial ones, or individuals and even cultural producers in general—have to add to the idea of the “green” or fair/ethical economy? We can trace a coffee bean to the farmer who grew it, and put his name on the package to demonstrate fair pay, thus cementing the guilt-free joy of an ethically sourced latte. Can we then not be more intentional about how we move within pieces of history, person, language and place?”