“The sleeping lion needed protection†– lessons from the Mbube (Lion King) debacle

Matome Melford Ratiba


In 1939 a young musician from the Zulu cultural group in South Africa, penned down what came to be the most popular albeit controversial and internationally acclaimed song of the times. Popular because the song somehow found its way into international households via the renowned Disney‘s Lion King. Controversial because the popularity passage of the song was tainted with illicit and grossly unfair dealings tantamount to theft and dishonest misappropriation of traditional intellectual property, giving rise to a lawsuit that ultimately culminated in the out of court settlement of the case. The lessons to be gained by the world and emanating from this dramatics, all  pointed out to the dire need for a reconsideration of measures to be urgently put in place for the safeguarding of cultural intellectual relic such as music and dance.

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