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Why it is important that we celebrate Trevor Noah’s wins

Zalebs logo Zalebs 2017-03-14 Kay Tatyana Selisho
© Gallo Images

It’s been a GOOD month for Trevor Noah. In fact, it has been a good year for him but the last month or so has been extra special.

In the past month or two, Trevor has:

  • Bought a penthouse in one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in

  • Broken his show’s personal ratings record

  • Become a best-selling author

  • Been named a next generation leader by Time Magazine

  • And won a Nickelodeon kid’s choice award for Favourite African Star 

Although Trevor beat fellow South Africans Pearl Thusi and Wayde Van Niekerk as well as Nigeria's Yemi Alade, Funke Akindele Bello, and Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o, his success should not be seen as a triumph over his peers. Instead, his success should be looked at right next to theirs as a testament to what heights the modern African child can do.

Whenever we praise the achievements of a celebrity, one question that often arises (much to our surprise) is “so what?”

Also read: Babes Wodumo buys herself a new Mercedes-Benz

That “so what” is often followed by comments such as “I have a degree too,” or “I also built my mom a house,” or “why didn’t we talk about it when Charlize did it?”

© Gallo Images

The difference that most of the people behind these comments and complaints don’t see is that for the masses to care about the fact that Zandile from Soweto just obtained her BCom degree, she would have to do something extraordinary; like be the only one in her class to have 6 distinctions.

Not to say that having a degree isn’t an achievement on it’s own, said achievements just reach more people when they belong to someone they all already know for another reason. And this is why we write

Not to say that having a degree isn’t an achievement on it’s own, said achievements just reach more people when they belong to someone they all already know for another reason. And this is why we write about Thembisa Mdoda having three degrees when Abigail from Kempton Park has them too. More people care about Thembisa than they do about Abigail.

In addition to celebrities having reach, at the end of the day, they are just ordinary people whose combined hard work, talent and networking skills happened to get them to where they are today.

The same applies to Charlize Theron who is another South African proudly representing us well on the world stage. What people tend to forget in her case is that she moved to the States when she was young. She has since lost her South African accent (not to say that it makes her any less South African). She also achieved her milestones in an age before social media so the lack of information overload makes it seem as though we never celebrated her. Trust us, we did, albeit very quietly.

Also read: Could these be the real #MMA16 winners?

When we tell people about Trevor Noah’s achievements, we are telling a young person who looks like him and grew up the way he did, that it is possible. It may not be guaranteed, but it is possible.

And that allows a child to dream beyond the confines of their current circumstance.

It allows a child to hold on to the hope that one day, it could all be different. It motivates a child to push, make an impact and achieve a goal and if we can reach just one child who can grow up to be the next Trevor Noah, Pearl Thusi or Thembisa Mdoda, then we have done something that could (in some way) make the lives of a few people better. 

If we can reach a child that strives to make their own name known globally, in entertainment or any other field, then we have done our jobs well.

And it is for that reason we will celebrate the achievements of at least one famous face - because you never know who is reading or how it may affect their lives.

In Pics: This week in Entertainment history

Liza Minnelli, actress, singer with a career spanning over six decades and among the few honored with an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and, Tony award, is born in Los Angeles, California. Entertainment: This week in history: 12-18 March 2017

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