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Comedian Trevo defends joke on World Cup 2018 winner – “Africans”

Written by: George Kalisa
Thursday, July 19th, 2018, 7:09

US based South African comedian Trevo Noah whose joke that Africans won World Cup 2018 triggered anger from a cross-section of the French nationals so much that the French envoy to the US, Gérard Araud, responded with a "bitter" letter unleashing his anger.  


At the peak of World Cup 2018 victory celebrations this last Sunday, Noah had said during the popular Daily Show that “Africa won the World Cup” which he claims won him trouble from the French government.


The French diplomat accused the comedian of denying the players their “Frenchness”.


“I heard your words about an African victory, nothing could be less true,” said the envoy.


“As many of the players have already stated themselves their parents may have come from another country, but the great majority of them -all, but two out of 23, they were born in France, they were educated in France, they learnt to play soccer in France, they’re French citizens. They are proud country, France. The rich and various backgrounds of these players is a reflection of France’s diversity,” added Araud.


Noah in a counter reaction accused the French of colonialism.


“(…) but I think it is more of a reflection of France’s colonialism,” responded Noah.


“France is indeed is a cosmopolitan country but every citizen is part of the French identity and together they belong to the nation of France, unlike in the United States of America, France does not reflect with citizens based on their race, religion or origin. To us, there is no ethnicity identity. Roots are individual reality. By calling an African team it seems you are denying their Frenchness (...) added the letter.

Noah insists that “black people all over the world were celebrating the Africanness of the French players and not in the negative way but rather in a positive way”


Noah’s opinion is that they players should be both French and Africans at the same time and if the French cannot see this "they have a problem but not me".    


He adds that it is unfair to only accept that Africans in France are only Africans when they are implicated in problems and crimes and only see them as exclusively French when they become exceptional achievers or do heroic acts. He said he will not apologize for his opinion.   


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