I watched Zootopia this weekend and I loved it. As we have come to expect, Disney delivered spectacular imagery, animation and voice acting to recount with a twist the old tale of the underdog. Like any good animated movie, there was something for everyone, as the cliche goes. Also, if one were to replace the bunnies and foxes with, say women and black people, the layers take on more intricacy.

The police chief Bogo struck me as particularly interesting. He is a buffalo voiced by Idris Elba. In one native Kenyan dialect, a buffalo is called a mbogo. The ‘m’ is silent and the word carries more of a thud than a rolling off of the tongue. Someone at Disney searched very hard to differentiate his name or was otherwise singularly lucky.

This is not the first instance of Gikuyu finding its way into Hollywood as anyone who has watched Star Wars and understands the language can attest.


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