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Tuesday 12 September 2023

South Africans get their knickers in a knot over Noah

Humourist Trevor Noah would seem the perfect choice to promote tourism to South Africa around the world.

He's South African. He's funny, and he has a global profile.

The comedian and former The Daily Show host recently agreed a US$1.7 million deal with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) to film an advert to boost travel to South Africa.

But the news sparked anger in Noah's native country, where the phrase "you have to spend money to make money" is clearly not well known.

Public criticism centred on the cost, at a time when power cuts are a major issue in cities and many people are struggling with rising food and fuel costs.

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille said that "the Trevor Noah advert for SA does not involve public funds'".

TBCSA, a private umbrella tourism organisation, said the proposed deal would be "wholly funded" by the body "if and when the parties ultimately agree on a common strategy".

The former The Daily Show and Grammy Awards host is currently on a tour in South Africa that will also take him to the United States, India and Britain - and he is known worldwide for his TV appearances. He has a Netflix special launching around the globe in November.

Noah documented his upbringing in apartheid-era South Africa as the son of a black South African mother and a white Swiss-German father in his book Born a Crime.

Maybe those opposing his deal should check how much it would cost to sign up South Africa's only other true global star: actress Charlize Theron. 

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