Trevor Noah Talks With Grandmother About Apartheid on South Africa-Set 'Daily Show'

"What's amazing about this place is that nothing's changed, in a good way," said Noah as he visited his hometown in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Brad Barket/Comedy Central

Trevor Noah took The Daily Show to Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday. During the special "Self-Deportation Edition" of the talk show, Noah gave viewers a tour of the neighborhood he grew up in, spoke to his grandmother about Nelson Mandela and apartheid, and gave an MTV Cribs-style tour of his grandma's home.

"The moment I got off the plane, I felt something. A voice inside reminding me of what I'd forgotten," said Noah in a voiceover over a montage of clips of the city.

Noah shared information about the road he was driving on, where he said he'd traveled many times during his childhood. "Because of apartheid, black people had to live in certain areas and then white people had to live in other areas," he said. "But white people like how the black people cook, so they need to come to their houses, so there were roads that connected the areas and this was one of those roads."

"Welcome to Soweto. This is where I grew up. This is where everything goes down," he said as he got out of the car. He noted that it is normal to walk in the streets and to scream at neighbors when passing by houses. "What's amazing about this place is that nothing's changed, in a good way."

Noah then took viewers to his grandmother's house, where he was raised. Upbeat music played as he mocked MTV Cribs and showed off the driveway. "We didn't have any cars, but we still built driveways, because that's what life is all about: Ambition," he said.

He then showed off some "security features," which included shattered glass bottles that lined walls surrounding the driveway.

"Anybody can have a toilet inside the house, but it takes a real baller to have a toilet outside the house," he said as he showed off the outdoor toilet. "Now, if you guys will excuse me, I'm about to make some magic happen. MTV Cribs, your boy."

As he entered his grandmother's house, he said, "Gogo" to let her know he was there. Noah then joined his grandmother in the kitchen. He shared that the nearby FNB Stadium will soon celebrate 100 years of Nelson Mandela.

Noah's grandmother said that Mandela was like their "God on Earth." She said that black people were not allowed to be nurses, teachers or policemen, so Mandela's career as a lawyer was inspiring.

"For young people, it's very hard for them to understand how scary it was to be a black person in living in South Africa during the time. But everybody was scared of the police," he said.

Noah's grandmother recalled being woken up at 3 a.m. by the police and being told to leave her house.

Noah added that he heard people say that the apartheid was a better time in South Africa than its current state. "It wouldn't be better," she said. She then shared a story about having to dig for potatoes without pay and if someone died from exhaustion, they were forced to continue digging.

The host asked his grandmother if he had personally fought against apartheid. "You were a kid. You were born a crime. How could you fight apartheid?" she said.

She added that many kids ran away from Noah when he was younger because he is half white. "For them, this was white?" he asked as he pointed out his skin tone. "Wow. I feel so special now, Gogo. To know there was a time that I was white." They then broke out into laughter.

The two also discussed his mother's job, in which was as a "manager of white people." "And now I'm also a manager of white people," he said. "The white people work for me."

The grandmother also admitted that she doesn't watch The Daily Show because "sometimes the electricity cuts out." Noah joked that it is "a very plausible excuse."

Watch the full segment below.