How to Instill Mufasa’s Swahili Sayings in Your Life

July 22, 2023 No Comments
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As you settle in for another viewing of the classic Disney film The Lion King, you find your mind drifting to Mufasa and his many memorable quotes. While the movie is set in a fantastical version of Africa, many of Mufasa’s most poignant sayings are derived from actual Swahili sayings. The wisdom of these Swahili sayings has resonated with you since childhood.

Their poetic language and powerful messaging around responsibility, courage, and morality have stayed with you into adulthood. Though Mufasa met an untimely end, his inspiring words lived on to guide his son Simba to his rightful place as the true king. As you revisit the film, listen closely to Mufasa’s dialogs His Swahili proverbs are as relevant today as when you first heard them. Let the wisdom and beauty of these sayings wash over you once more.

Hakuna Matata: No Worries!

The memorable Swahili sayings “Hakuna Matata” was often spoken by Mufasa to young Simba. It means “no worries” and reflects Mufasa’s calm and reassuring nature as a leader. Mufasa understood that worrying too much could be counterproductive. As king of the Pride Lands, he knew that facing problems with courage and wisdom was most constructive. Dwelling on anxieties would only cloud one’s judgment and prevent pragmatic solutions.

By telling Simba “Hakuna Matata,” Mufasa was imparting an important life lesson. He wanted Simba to approach challenges with a clear and focused mind, rather than one troubled by excessive doubts or fears. This saying reflects Mufasa’s own leadership style of remaining composed during difficult times. His calm demeanor and considered decision-making earned him the respect of all creatures in the kingdom.

Mufasa recognized that some degree of concern was prudent when confronting issues, but that worry in excess was fruitless. His memorable words remind us to face troubles with courage and wisdom, focusing on practical solutions rather than anxieties. By dealing with problems proactively and avoiding panic, we can lead more purposefully and thoughtfully in our own lives.

In this way, “Hakuna Matata” was Mufasa’s gift to Simba and to all who would heed its message. Its timeless meaning serves as an inspirational reminder of Mufasa’s insightful leadership and his desire to pass on that wisdom. No wonder it remained with Simba even after so many years. Through it, the memory of his father continued to guide him.

Rafiki’s Wisdom: “The Past Can Hurt. But the Way I See It, You Can Either Run From It or Learn From It.”

Rafiki’s wisdom reminds us of an important life lesson: We cannot escape our past, but we can choose to learn from it. Our experiences, good and bad, shape who we become.

The Past Is Never Truly Gone

 Swahili Sayings

Life’s moments, events, and circumstances accumulate in our memory, forming the foundation of our identity and perspectives. While time continues marching on, the past remains permanently etched within us. However, we have the power to determine how the past influences our present and future. We can dwell on past hurts and regrets, allowing them to negatively impact our lives, or we can face them, accept them, and use them to better ourselves.

Learn and Grow

 Swahili Sayings

Choosing to learn from our past requires courage and maturity. It means acknowledging our mistakes, understanding the root causes of past pains, and resolving to build upon them. We must reflect on where we have been to understand where we want to go. Each challenge we have faced has given us an opportunity to become wiser and stronger.

As Rafiki also wisely said, “Change is good.” We cannot change the past, but we can change how we think about it and allow it to change us for the better. Our experiences, both good and bad, provide invaluable life lessons if we open ourselves to learning from them. The past may hurt, but with an open and willing heart, we can turn that hurt into wisdom. That is the true meaning of Rafiki’s timeless advice.

Mufasa’s Life Lesson: “Everything You See Exists Together in a Delicate Balance.”

One of Mufasa’s most memorable lessons is that everything in the Circle of Life is interconnected. As he wisely says to Simba, “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.” This profound statement illustrates the complex interdependence of all living things and the natural world. Balance Between Predator and PreyAt the most basic level, Mufasa teaches Simba about the balance between predators and their prey.

The lions must hunt other animals like antelope for food, but they must do so sustainably by only killing what they need to survive. If they overhunt the antelope, the lions would deplete their food source and face starvation. But if they underhunt, the antelope population would grow too large and destroy the grasslands that sustain them. This delicate balance maintains the health of both the predator and prey populations.

The Circle of LifeMore broadly, Mufasa’s lesson represents the circle of life and the connections between all living and nonliving things. Everything in an ecosystem, from the smallest insect to the largest mammal, has a role to play to keep the system functioning. The waste products from one organism become nutrients for another in an endless cycle of energy and matter. The rocks and water cycle provide habitats and the basic elements that sustain life.

Even after death, as Mufasa tells Simba, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eats the grass. We are all part of the great Circle of Life. Responsibility to Uphold the Balance Mufasa teaches Simba that with the privilege of being at the top of the food chain comes the responsibility to uphold the balance of life.

As the future king, Simba must protect the Pride Lands and all who inhabit it. He must rule with wisdom and empathy to maintain the delicate connections between predators and prey, the balance of life and death. Only then can the Circle of Life continue unbroken. This is perhaps Mufasa’s most important lesson of all.

Common Swahili Greetings to Know

 Swahili Sayings

Knowing some common Swahili greetings is a great way to start learning the language and show respect to native speakers. Here are a few essential greetings to know:


Meaning “How are you?” or “How’s it going?”. This is a friendly, informal greeting you can use when meeting someone. The typical response is “nzuri” (good) or “salama” (peaceful).


Meaning “How are you?”. This is another common, informal greeting. Respond with “sijambo” (I’m fine) or “salama” (peaceful).


A respectful greeting is used when addressing one’s elders or superiors. It means “I respect you”. The appropriate response is “marahaba” (thank you).


Meaning “welcome” or “come in”. Use this when welcoming someone into your home or workspace. It is a friendly, hospitable greeting.


Meaning “goodbye”. This is a polite way to say farewell to someone in Swahili. An alternative is “Tutaonana baadaye” (see you later).


Meaning “thank you”. Express your gratitude by saying “asante” (pronounced “a-SAHN-tay”). For “thank you very much”, say “asante sana”.Knowing these simple greetings and a few key phrases will allow you to politely engage with Swahili speakers and show your interest in learning the language. Don’t be afraid to try them out – most Swahili speakers will appreciate your effort. With regular practice of common greetings and responses, you’ll gain confidence in conversational Swahili.

Swahili Numbers 1 Through 10

Learning numbers in a new language can be challenging, but also rewarding. As you study Swahili, mastering the numbers 1 through 10 is a great place to start.

Moja (1)

The Swahili word for the number one is moja. This is a pivotal first step, as all other numbers build upon it. Practice pronouncing it as “MO-jah”.

Mbili (2)

Mbili is the Swahili word for two. It is pronounced as “mm-BEE-lee”. Once you have learned moja and mbili, you have grasped the numbers required to count many basic quantities.

Tatu (3)

Building upon your knowledge of moja and mbili, the Swahili word for three is tatu, pronounced as “TAH-too”. With tatu added to your vocabulary, you can now count up to the number of points in a triangle or sides in a pyramid.

Nne (4)

The next number in the Swahili sequence is four, which is nne (“nn-EH”). Being able to count to four allows you to quantify the number of limbs on animals, points of a square, and cardinal directions.

Tano (5)

Halfway to ten is the number tano, which means five in Swahili. Pronounce it as “TAH-noh”. Five is a pivotal number, as many body parts and senses come in fives. Knowing tano will allow you to count one hand’s worth of fingers.

Sita (6)

The Swahili word for six is sita, pronounced “SEE-tah”. With sita added to your vocabulary, you can now count the number of sides in a hexagon.

Saba (7)

Saba (“SAH-bah”) is seven in Swahili. Seven is a popular number, seen in the days of the week, deadly sins, and wonders of the ancient world. Knowing saba will allow you to quantify a week’s worth of days.

Nane (8)

Nane (“nn-NAH-neh”) is the Swahili word for eight. Eight is an auspicious number in some cultures, seen in the eightfold path and eight immortals. With Nane, you can count the number of legs on a spider.

Tisa (9)

Almost to ten, tisa (“TEE-sah”) means nine in Swahili. Nine is featured in many significant quantities, like the nine muses, clouds of heaven, and the lives of a cat. Knowing tisa will allow you to count the number of planets in our solar system.

Kumi (10)

Mufasa’s Most Memorable Swahili Sayings FAQ

Mufasa imparted many memorable words of wisdom to Simba during his youth, often speaking in Swahili, the official language of Kenya and Tanzania. As Simba grew into a young lion and faced difficult decisions, he drew upon his father’s sayings for guidance and inspiration. Though Mufasa is no longer physically present, his teachings live on.

What do Mufasa’s sayings mean?

Some of Mufasa’s most well-known Swahili sayings include:

  • “Kupanda kwa kufanya.” This translates to “To ascend, act.” In other words, one must take action to progress and advance in life. Mufasa encouraged Simba to be proactive rather than reactive.
  • “Kusudi la kufanya ni bora kuliko kufanya.” The intention to act is better than not acting at all. It is better to have goals and purpose than to drift aimlessly through life without direction or motivation.
  • “Kila siku ni maisha, kila wakati ni muhimu.” Each day is life, and each moment is important. Mufasa stressed living in and appreciating the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying excessively about the future.
  • “Umoja ni nguvu, utengano ni udhaifu.” Unity is strength, division is weakness. Mufasa believed in the power of a united community and warned against discord and conflict. By coming together, the Pridelands thrived.
  • “Kutenda mema kwingi kunasalia.” Doing good often remains. The legacy of good deeds and righteousness lives on eternally. Though Mufasa perished, his spirit endured through the memories of him in the hearts of others.

By following these virtuous teachings, Simba was able to become a wise and noble leader of the Pridelands, just as his father before him. Mufasa’s memorable sayings in Swahili continue to inspire us with messages of purpose, unity, morality, and living in the present moment. Though the years pass, such timeless wisdom persists.


You have now explored some of Mufasa’s most meaningful Swahili sayings and the wisdom they impart. His messages of courage, morality, and interconnectedness resonate with audiences across cultures and generations. Though Mufasa met an untimely end in the gorge, his words live on to guide his son Simba – and all who listen.

As you reflect on Mufasa’s memorable Swahili sayings, consider how you can apply these timeless lessons to your own life. Find the courage and wisdom within yourself to lead with compassion. See the light that connects all living things. And always remember who you are – your true place in the circle of life. Mufasa’s words remind us that though leaders may come and go, the truths they impart can echo forever. His sayings, like his legacy, will endure.

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Asante na Kwaheri!

Swahili Magic

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I'm an elementary school teacher who loves what she does! I enjoy creating resources in my Native language "kiswahili". My goal is to spread the beautiful language of "Kiswahili" inside and outside the classroom. Thanks for stopping by! Read More

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