The Lion King 30th Anniversary - Peanut Gallery 247

2024 heralds the 30th anniversary of The Lion King and, to mark his special milestone, The Walt Disney Company Africa will be celebrating the film’s continuing legacy in South Africa through unique and exciting launches, collaborations and more, in the lead up to the highly anticipated 20 December release of Mufasa: The Lion King in cinemas.

In 1994, South Africans were introduced to The Lion King, Disney’s epic cinema animated adventure in both English and Zulu. The story follows Simba, a feisty lion cub who “just can’t wait to be king.” Led astray by his ambitious Uncle Scar, Simba adopts a carefree lifestyle with his hilarious companions, Timon and Pumbaa, and forgets his regal responsibilities. But destiny calls and he has to decide when the time is right to return to the Pride Lands and reclaim his place in the “Circle Of Life.” The Lion King remains the highest-attended animated film of all time in South Africa.


Since then, The Lion King has continued to enthral audiences in South Africa and across the globe. In 1997, The Lion King musical premiered on Broadway and has become one of the most successful musicals of all time. Directed by Julie Taymor and featuring a roster of South African performers, the production visited the country in 2007 and became an instant hit with theatre-goes, holding the record for the longest-running stage play presented in South Africa.

Two further animated features were released – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (2001) and The Lion King 1½ (2004) – and, in 2017, kids and families welcomed the animated series The Lion Guard, airing on Disney Junior in English and on SABC 1 in Zulu. In 2019, pioneering filmmaking techniques brought The Lion King to the big screen in a whole new way, led by director Jon 

Favreau and featuring Dr. John Kani as Rafiki. Following the release in July, the cinematic adventure went on to become the highest grossing film of all time at the South African box office, a record it still holds today.

Comments Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa: “For 30 years, South African’s have contributed to the ongoing legacy of The Lion King, through the talent featured in front and behind the screens, scenes and stages. We are excited to be marking this milestone by acknowledging that contribution as well as further celebrating the creativity, storytelling excellence and emotional connection South African’s have to this beloved story through exciting and engaging local activities.”


Presented in association with Nedbank and MTN, the local activities include:

  • Disney will host a once-off Tribute Concert in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of The Lion King. Featuring the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and special guest talent, the special will include hit songs from beloved Disney Movie moments as well as the original animated The Lion King
  • As part of a year-long collaboration with Disney Africa, a brand new capsule fashion collection from one of South Africa’s most prolific designers will be unveiled – entirely inspired by The Lion King
  • A yet-to-be-announced kids theatrical production will be heading to Johannesburg later this year
  • A unique screening program of The Lion King in Zulu language will kick off with a non-profit organisation
  • The Lion King films and associated series will all be available to stream on Disney+
  • Select product ranges will be available for South African families at participating retailers from July, with a special Pandora x Disney’s The Lion King range currently available
  • Mufasa: The Lion King, featuring local voice artists Dr John Kani (Rafiki), Kagiso Lediga (Young Rafiki) and Thuso Mbedu, and featuring additional music and performances by Lebo M, will release in cinemas nationwide from 20 December
The Lion King Stage Show - Peanut Gallery 247
The Lion King Stage Show
The Lion King Stage Show - Peanut Gallery 247
The Lion King Stage Show
The Lion King Stage Show - Peanut Gallery 247
The Lion King Stage Show (Openview channel 104 & DStv 194) and eMovies (Openview channel 106 & DStv 138) will play exclusive host to the animated features The Lion King (1994) (Saturday 17 August 8PM),
The Lion King 2 and The Lion King ½, in August in a special broadcast festival.

With many more announcements planned, fans can stay up to date by following @DisneyAfrica on Instagram and @DisneyinAfrica on Facebook, using #TheLionKing.

The Lion King’s 30th Anniversary is presented in association with Nedbank and MTN.

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Disclaimer: Press Release provided. Images: © The Walt Disney Company

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