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Trevor Noah used Sunday’s Oscars ceremony as a chance to poke fun at people who think Wakanda, the fictional African homeland of Black Panther, is a real place.
While presenting the film’s nomination for Best Picture, the South African comedian said solemnly:
“Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase.
“He says: ‘Abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka’, which means: ‘In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.”
But that’s not what that phrase actually means.
The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani says the true translation into English is: “White people don’t know that I’m lying”. His joke, which was of course lost on the Academy Awards’ audience in Hollywood, tickled Xhosa speakers on social media.
— Say Something (@Azania_Mzansi) February 25, 2019
His “inspirational” story drew applause from those who did not understand Xhosa.
But those in Mzansi knew the actual translation was: ‘White people don’t know I’m lying’.
Local viewers watching the ceremony flooded social media accounts with reaction to the diss, making Trevor one of the most talked-about topics on Twitter.
All hail the biggest inside joke in Oscar history!
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) February 25, 2019
trevor noah pulled off the biggest inside joke ever told 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 #oscars
— claire mawisa (@clairemawisa) February 25, 2019
Trevor deserves an Oscar just for this here 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/RXNCosX93Q
— LORD 👑 FOURTH (@Tswebedengs) February 25, 2019
trevor noah really trolled abelungu on their home turf i stan a legend pic.twitter.com/tOhsAGBtqS
— 🌙anathi✨ (@outrojimiin) February 25, 2019
TREVOR NOAH SPEAKING IN XHOSA JUST GOT ME PREGNANT
— Jenna Wortham (@jennydeluxe) February 25, 2019
Black Panther won three awards at last night’s ceremony – Best original score, Best production design, and Best costume design.