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Pop Culture and Swahili words used by Disney, Lionel Richie, and Star Trek

Pop Culture and Swahili words used by Disney, Lionel Richie, and Star Trek

Swahili is spoken in the African countries of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Swahili is also one of the official languages of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. About 35 percent of the Swahili vocabulary derives from the Arabic language.

Lionel Richie

Pop Culture Quiz Swahili words used by Disney, Lionel Richie, and Star Trek


Disney's animated film The Lion King contains several Swahili references. Simba, the main character's name, means lion, Rafiki means friend, Sarabi means mirage and Pumbaa means foolish.

Gene Roddenberry took the name of Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek from the Swahili word uhuru meaning freedom.

Do you remember Lionel Richie’s 1983 hit song All Night Long? The line “We're going to, party Karamu, fiesta, forever, come on and sing along; Karamu means party in Swahili. 

The game Jenga is derived from the Swahili word kujenga, the Swahili verb to build.

The DreamWorks Animation movie Madagascar 2, the hippo is named Moto Moto which means Hot Hot in Swahili.
 

How did Lieutenant Uhura get her name

Nyota Uhura is a fictional character in the Star Trek franchise. The character was portrayed by Nichelle Nichols through the sixth Star Trek film. Uhura is a translator and communications officer who specializes in linguistics, cryptography, and philology. She was an important part of the original series' multicultural crew and one of the first black actors to be featured in a non-menial role on an American television series.

Nichols states in her book Beyond Uhura that the name was inspired by Robert Ruark's book Uhuru, which she had with her on the day she read for the part. When producer Robert Justman explained to Roddenberry what the word Uhuru meant, he changed it to Uhura and adopted that as the character's name.

Uhura that the name was inspired by Robert Ruark's book Uhuru

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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