How the Swahili language took hold across Africa, and beyond

You may recognize this phrase. You may even find yourself humming an earworm of the same title from Disney’s “The Lion King.”

“It means no worries” goes the song lyric.

Disney fails to mention that “Hakuna matata” means “no worries” in Swahili. The language — known as Kiswahili in East Africa — has its roots in a small tribal Bantu language spoken along one strip of Africa’s eastern coastline. But these days, it has spread across the African continent.

Experts estimate Swahili is spoken by more than 100 million people. To put it another way: More people speak Swahili than Korean or Italian.

Read more: PRI

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