The Lion King is about Mufasa (a lion) who is the king of Pride Rock (an animal based kingdom) and his son, Simba (who is also a lion). Simba is the heir to the throne but his uncle, Scar, is very jealous of that. This results in him killing Mufasa and blaming it on a young Simba.
The rest of the film is about Simba coming to terms with what has happened, starting a new life and coming back to save his kingdom.
The film itself is set in North Africa and there are two scenes that stand out to me. The opening scene, which is iconic, where Simba is introduced to hoards of happy animals who are excited to see him introduced and the scene where Mufasa appears in the clouds to encourage Simba.
For some reason, I have always LOVED the Lion King. It's always been something I have genuinely seen as a work of art. I used to own it on VHS and watching it was genuinely some of the best moments of my childhood.
I personally engage with it because firstly, to me it was the first time I had seen an aspect of African culture receive such mainstream celebration. It was beautiful hearing songs in Swahili being sung. Even though my family are Ghanaian, it made me want to learn the native tongue of my family (even though I never properly did!) and to explore and be proud of the elements of their culture in which I identify as my own secondary culture. It sparked my initial acceptance of what it means to be unashamedly African and how it is so beautiful. It also explores the idea of never forgetting who you are and being proud of it. Growing up in England as a child, it was hard to fully embrace my African side as it wasn't well understood by my peers so having the Lion King did make it easier (even if that change was small).
It also has religious connotations for me. It was the first time as a child that I had properly thought of the idea of death, which terrified me! However, seeing Mufasa coming back to encourage Simba as some sort of spiritual entity reminded heavily with my own relationship with my Christian faith and with God. It helped to remind me that in my life, I had God to remind me who I was and to always encourage and strengthen me.
This story can inspire everyone to remember one thing; do not forget who you are. Many things will come your way to thwart your way of thinking and to scare you off but you as a person are unique and are strong to handle anything life has to throw at you! I believe that God lives in me and is my strength. I believe he lives in you too and lives in all of us. You may not identify with that message and I can understand that so I guess it can also be seen as this too:
You've got an unbelievably strong persona in you and that will always be you. You may be shy, you may be quiet, you feel out of place but you are strong regardless and that will always be yours.
If you are seeking for change in your life or for those around you, you can do it. Of course you can. Simba lost his dad because his uncle killed him AND had the blame put on him as a kid! Imagine that!! However, he acknowledged that he was strong enough inside to make a difference and with the help of good friendships and a strong family, good was able to come about. Yes, it just a cartoon (that was hard for me to type because I genuinely love it and it is SO real to me) but the themes it explores can definitely be applied to your life.
family, strength, friends, relationships, circle of life, africa