Trevor Noah's 91-year-old grandmother schools him on apartheid

Originally published at:


Nice. Funny that she obviously considers him White. Frustrating that they only subtitle her English (which seemed perfectly understandable.)


We need to listen to the people who lived this history. “The knock at 3AM” is just about the last thing anyone wants to hear. In a society built on xenophobia and bigotry, no-one with a conscience and sense of human decency is safe from that knock eventually sounding on one’s own door.


Noah’s grandmother, Coco, is awesome; I fluv her.



I was wondering when this was going to be posted here. This is awesome. His grandma rocks.

It also covers an interesting phenomenon: if you’re half-black/half-white in Africa, you’re considered white. Which makes sense: if a half-black or even quarter-black person is “black” in a white majority, then a half-black person in Africa would be considered “white”. (Not that anyone has to make a designation, but people do).

I’ve read stories of African-Americans being traumatized when they go to Africa and people there insist on referring to them as white. I have to imagine that would suck, but in context it should be understood at least.

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There were three main castes under apartheid; White, Black and ‘Colored’ (‘mixed’ folks like myself.)

I really suggest everyone here making arbitrary assumptions check out Noah’s special “You Laugh but It’s True”; a documentary about his first major show in S.Africa entitled ‘Day Walker


What I noticed, and know the meaning of, was the glass on top of the wall.

I also remember the old jim crow adage “one drop of black blood…” and am saddened that is persists unmentioned and without question even today.

Indeed. And to historians who responsibly talk for those who aren’t here any more to speak for themselves…


I think it is the singer Laura Love who has written about going from being the only Black girl in an all white school to the only white girl in an all Black school. That’s in the US.

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My brother worked for the Urban Institute and did some studies in South Africa during apartheid.
He’s Japanese-American and was considered to be Colored.
To work with the whites, they had to make him an Honorary White.


That’s pretty much how it worked.

I’m not sure why you capitalized that last bit.

There are always loopholes and ‘exceptions to the rule’ that opportunistic people of privilege and power will utilize, when it benefits them to do so.

That does not in any way negate any of the valid points I’ve previously made.


I don’t think this can be recommended enough, heart-breaking and hilarious.


That filled me with their joy, beautiful people that have survived with grace beyond our comprehension.


I often speak on my experiences growing up as a biracial Black person in America at the end of the 20th century; so hearing the perspective of another biracial Black person who grew up in an even more oppressive and unequal society, it both resonated deeply with me, and was an eye-opening experience.

I remember marveling at the almost palpable envy of the White South African comedians that were interviewed, as they decried Noah as “arrogant” and “cocky”… which is interesting, because I find him to be incredibly self-deprecating and charming.

But I guess any behavior on the part of POC that isn’t ‘meek’ and/or ‘subservient’ probably must seem that way to such deeply bigoted people…


Absolutely; the jealousy of those other comedians, man, they just looked like a bunch of racists looking for a different reason (excuse?) to dislike him.

I agree, I too think he’s charming, and smart as well as funny. I guess part of that “envy” is because he’s a nice guy, and how dare he.


Especially the guy who wouldn’t comment on camera; what a bigoted coward.


I probably should have put it in quotes. That was the formal title bestowed upon him by the South African government so a non-white person could live and work with the whites.

It was not my intent to negate or lessen anything you said, just to clarify that anyone who was not pure white in the governments eyes was considered to be in a different class and that “Colored” were treated differently from “Black”.


I am aware.

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“The uploader has not made this available in your country.”

Well, thank the Gods that nobody here in Blighty would need to learn about racism. I can now happily go on my way assuming that we’re guilt-free and perfect here…

(I know its due to regional licensing deals. But if the goal of the producers were truly to make the world a better, more educated place, wouldn’t you think… oh, I see. They didn’t think.)

Yes. This needed pointing out.
What she was saying was saying that the other small kids thought he looked white ('cos he was lighter-skinned than them) and these kids saw few/no white people in Soweto, so for them it was an understandable assumption. As far as apartheid was concerned he would never be white.
You may have meant that but the way you worded it was extremely open to misinterpretation.