Tonight I watched this clip of South African comedian Trevor Noah’s appearance on the John Bishop show in the UK back in May. His performance focuses on the arrogance and absurdity of British colonialism. His touch is light and deep, which is much needed in Britain where these issues and this history are widely ignored.
A few highlights:
“The British immigration officer says “Sir you’ve got to understand i’m not trying to be a hardass about this but I can’t just believe you’re here to do what you say you’re going to do – you could do something else.” I was like “well you know what, fair enough, fair enough, that’s a great attitude to have. That’s the attitude I wish we’d had in South Africa when the British first arrived – it would have saved us a lot of pain.””
“It’s a fun game colonisation, it really was. It’s the most arrogant form of patriotism when you think about it, you know. It must have been cool. Like I wonder what Britain was like back then, it was so great, that you guys wanted to go and make it somewhere else. It was like ‘this is wonderful, we should do it everywhere’. That’s exactly what it was, colonisation all over the world. What’s weird to me though, is like how people act like colonisation never happened, I don’t like that. Like it’s weird when people say ‘all these bloody foreigners coming into the UK, all these bloody foreigners..’ well it’s because YOU TOLD them about the UK! You’ve gotta understand, in the world we did not care for this place at all, noone knew about Great Britain. In India they were having a good time, the British went and told the Indians about Great Britain – they were having fun with elephants and spices, they had no need to come to this country…”
“It’s colonisation done right that’s what I truly enjoy, the British did it perfectly. Yeah. Cos’ now we’re friends; we all speak the same languages, we even have a games where we participate together – the Commonwealth Games. Ironically named. There was nothing common about it. The wealth was in one place. [It’s like] ‘Right, let’s forget everything that happened and let’s play some games together’.”