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The Lion King

Sarah Mirza

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Sarah Mirza
Mirza
General Information
Name

Sarah Mirza

Birthplace

Mombasa, Kenya

Years

2015 - Present

They were so excited about adding Swahili [to the show] that I thought, I want to be a part of this show. It's been a great opportunity for me in terms of spreading the Swahili word. Swahili is one of those languages that's not intimidating. Everyone working on the show has really embraced it.
—Mirza on joining The Lion Guard[1]

Sarah Mirza is the Swahili consultant for The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and its follow-up television series The Lion Guard.

Biography

Mirza was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and studied Linguistics at the University of Nairobi.[1] After graduating, she moved to the United States to earn her postgraduate degree.[1] Shortly afterward, she began teaching at UCLA.[1] She is responsible for writing key Swahili teaching text that is used in schools around the world.[1]

Mirza recounts that she would often speak to people in the social sphere and cite character names from The Lion King to teach people about Swahili:

"We need a follow up, because I'll meet people at parties, and they'll say they don't know any Swahili, and I'll say, 'Really? Do you know Hakuna Matata? Do you know Simba? Do you know Rafiki?' And they say, 'Yes,' and I say, 'Well, that's Swahili.' So I've been wanting to go past the four words to more!"[1]

She was brought on to the show by its producers, who wanted to incorporate Swahili words and phrases.[1] Since joining the project, Mirza has created several "Swinglish" phrases: half-English and half-Swahili.[1] For different characters, she would create names and catchphrases that matched their personality and role, such as Makuu the show-off crocodile, whose name means "big things."[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Zuka Zama! A Chat With The Lion Guard's Swahili Expert, Sarah Mirza. Oh My Disney. Disney. Retrieved on June 22, 2016.

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