Inspirational Movies

5 Lessons Learnt from The Lion King

Lessons from one of Disney's all time favourite...


“Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba
Sithi uhm ingonyama
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Siyo Nqoba
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala”
“Here comes a lion, father
Oh yes it’s a lion
Here comes a lion, father
Oh yes it’s a lion
A lion
We’re going to conquer
A lion
A lion and a leopard come to this open place”

(Lyric excerpt from ‘Circle of Life’)

I imagine some overzealous learner might be wondering ‘why only 5?’

Well, seeing as how I can vaguely remember what I did yesterday, the distraction caused by my neighbour’s busy body of a dog that barks at anything that moves including the wind (that’s right!) and having to watch The Lion King for the 265th time (the things you do when your job involves kids) to write this post, 5 lessons it is!

Besides, quality beats quantity. Amen!

If I were to choose my top 5 favourite Disney animations of all time, The Lion King will be right up there. Aside from the fact that the plot, characters, and epic music made me so proud to be African (Yes! Charity begins at home!), the script and storyline were so well developed that it wasn’t just relevant to children.

My mum watched The Lion King a couple of times with us while my dad… If only T.D Jakes had been Mufasa, then my dad too would have sat and watched the whole thing.

So, here are the 5 lessons I have learnt after watching Simba, Mufasa, Scar (his scars run deep I tell you), Nala, Timon, Pumbaa (what a name!), Zazu and the coolest, Rafiki (sounds like the name of a kickass rogue agent).

Lesson 1: Run With A Purpose


“Every morning in Africa a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest Lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle… When the sun comes up, you better start running.”
African Proverb

(From the opening scene)

Now, substitute ‘Africa’ for ‘World’, ‘Lion’ and ‘Gazelle’ for ‘Rich’, ‘Poor’, ‘Black’, ‘White’, ‘Male’, ‘Female’, ‘Young’, ‘Young at heart’, ‘Mutant’, ‘Immigrant alien’, etc. and substitute ‘running’ for ‘passion’. BINGO!

We can rewrite this proverb as;

‘Every day in the world, we must live passionately and make it count no matter who you are or where (location and position) you are. To do otherwise (such as complain, lazy about, talk about your plans but never doing anything about it, stand on the sidelines and criticise others, expect goodies to fall on your lap) would be to your own ruin (ask the Gazelle that got caught, Mmhmm!).

The Gazelle’s got speed and the Lion’s got strength. I’m sure the Lion would like to be as fast as the Gazelle and the Gazelle would like to be as strong as the Lion but it ain’t happening! Just like my hair would never be as long as Amisha Patel’s (Bollywood actress with gorgeous long hair).

However, one’s got speed and the other has got strength and that is what they use EVERYDAY. So what do you have? What do you use?

Lesson 2: Critics are here to stay and they are legion!


Zazu: [about Scar] There’s one in every family sire. Two in mine, actually. And they always manage to ruin special occasions
Mufasa: What am I going to do with him?
Zazu: He’d make a very handsome throw rug.
From the scene where Zazu and Mufasa confront Scar for not attending Simba’s presentation ceremony

Welcome to planet earth where there is a guaranteed person or group of persons that will dislike you and/or what you do. Depending on your location or region, you can find them at, bad belle cooperative society or the consortium of clueless critics (also known as the CCC). We do hope you enjoy your stay!

I know personally the power of a critic.

As most of you know, I am a singer and each time I am invited for a performance, I put my heart and soul into it. When the time comes, I go up to perform and afterward, the feedback starts to pour in. Thankfully, most of them are good but when that one comment from a critic comes in, it can be demoralising. VERY!

However, like Zazu commented, you can allow a critic to be a one of a kind Persian carpet or a throw rug. So, to help me remain focused on what is important (as well as keep me from punching someone in the face one of these days), I:

  1. Have come to accept it that critics, haters and bad belle people are here for good.
  2. Am learning to decide who matters and whose voice to listen to.

Lesson 3: It Pays to be Kind


Pumbaa: But he’s so little.
Timon: He’s gonna get bigger.
Pumbaa: Maybe he’ll be on our side.
Timon: A – huh! That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard. Maybe he’ll b-… Hey, I got it! What if he’s on our side? You know, having a lion around might not be such a bad idea
From the scene where Timon and Pumbaa find Simba in the dessert

Imagine you were the kid that always shared your lunch with Oprah Winfrey or the person who encouraged Bill Gates to hone his programming skills by gifting him his first ever computer system or offering to pay his tuition.

If you think that is too far-fetched, imagine if you bought a cup of hot coffee for the homeless guy that always sits out in the cold at the top of your street or you maybe you say something encouraging to that friend who recently started blogging… and you read her blog, follow it and share it (Just saying! There is no shame in wanting, asking and if need be, begging for your kindness. So, help a Sista out!).

Also, at the closing scene, after Simba became king, guess who stood right next to him on his throne? (Fine! It’s a slab of rock but Simba isn’t complaining and neither am I)

Lesson 4: You Need People

Simba was the heir to Pride Rock but it took him years and most importantly people to help him find his way and reclaim his throne. Sure! He was a big strong Lion but there were other big and strong Lions out in Pride Land so he needed more than his strength and size to win. Let’s look at team Simba:

Timon and Pumbaa: two happy-go-lucky, funny, optimistic and simple folks that helped Simba when he was down and out, stayed with him and didn’t expect anything in return. I call them the ‘sustainers’ because while what they do may not look like a lot to you, they hold you up and keep you grounded.

Rafiki: I just love Rafiki. He knew Simba and whose child he was. He knew the potentials Simba had and never once wavered or doubted it, not even when Simba was out of sight and Pride Land was in ruins. His loyalty was fierce and he was unafraid to give Simba a good whooping when he deserved it. He never gave up, plus he’s sharp. He is a ‘motivator’.

Nala: Now, this chick almost ruined it for Timon and Pumbaa with her blue/grey eyes and sultriness but the Lord was on their side (Praise Jesus!). However, I liked how she was fearless and strong when Simba was still struggling to find his way. She was also the one who rallied support for Simba i.e. with Timon and Pumbaa and the Lionesses as well. This group of people will create or maintain the right environment for you to flourish. They are the ‘enablers’.

The Lionesses: the wider group of supporters and well-wishers. They may not be within your immediate sphere to influence you but they can make things happen, good or bad. So be nice to them.

Zazu: Need I say more? Everyone needs a friend on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (social media) to LIKE what you do and SHARE the word. They are the ‘carriers’ or ‘announcers’.

Lesson 5: You can Never Go Wrong with Good Hair!


Check out that mane on Simba and tell me if that was not one of the highlights of watching The Lion King?

If you haven’t got any hair, not to worry. Just keep it neat and shiny!

Photo 1 credit:
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2 comments on “5 Lessons Learnt from The Lion King

  1. As a girl who was raised on Disney, I absolutely love this post Millicent. Can’t wait to hear your wisdom from your other favourite Disney animations 🙂


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