Trevor Noah On The Murderous Miners Of Marikana
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Trevor Noah is a half black (Xhosa) half-Jewish South African comedian, whose biography Born A Crime references the fact that under Apartheid, his parents' marriage would have been illegal. When he was tapped to replace Jon Stewart in the Daily Show, he got in trouble for having made "insensitive" jokes on Twitter, including Jewish jokes, which he feels he's entitled to make, since (a) his father is Jewish, and (b) he's literally named Noah.

In this clip, he's being "insensitive"  about the dead black miners of Marikana, who were shot eight years ago.  (Partial transcript here.)

He goes off on the fake news providers, who claimed that the miners were shot for dancing, which is untrue. (They were shot, by black South African police, because they were armed rioters, who could have massacred the police if they'd been given the chance.)

Saying that local people were saying "Why didn’t they use rubber bullets, why didn’t they use teargas?" Noah answers

"Cause those things don’t work anymore, they used it the whole week, but it didn’t work so they had to use ammunition. Those guys had weapons. Plus teargas is a waste of time.  Which strike have you ever heard ended with teargas?"

He adds an anecdote about his black grandmother, age 85, using an Apartheid-era teargas canister in Soweto to kill cockroaches. For the humor-impaired, this is a joke, but the part about the black South African police feeling that they had to use live ammo, because "those guys"(the miners) had weapons is meant seriously.

Below, in a screenshot of what Time wrote at the time, you can see mobs armed with pangas (South African machetes) knobkerries (three-foot sticks with head-smashing knob on the end), and fighting sticks, like a 1970s billy club, but in pairs.

Here's what we said about this strike and the black police response to in 2012:

I told one reader that

My natural tendency is to sympathize with the riot police, rather than the rioters. The miners are, for example, beating other miners to death to enforce solidarity. Ten mineworkers have been killed at one mine, not by police.

At a considerable cost in blood, treasure, and human life, the South African miners are now living in a "majority-ruled" democracy, where they have the franchise. If they have problems with their government, let them use their votes, not their pangas and knobkerries.

In an unrelated story, white farmers in South Africa are being murdered regularly in rural areas. South African police are failing to overreact

I first saw the Trevor Noah clip when David Hines tweeted this:
Wrong! If Noah were a real neoreactionary, he would have talked about how Sharpeville was justified (or at least excused) by the previous killings at Cato Manor, as I have done here on

In the last of those, I discussed the “Sharpeville massacre” of 1960, which killed 69 unarmed African rioters charging police (out of 5-7,000 rioters present.) You probably heard about it in school. It was preceded, two months earlier by the Cato Manor massacre of which you have, I am reasonably confident, never heard.

That’s because the dead at Cato Manor were police, who had failed to shoot the “unarmed” rioters—four white and five black policemen, who were killed and mutilated. Mutilated means, according to Wikipedia and other sources, their genitals stuffed in their mouths.

I am unable to find contemporary newspaper reports of that detail, because in 1960, you couldn't say “with their genitals stuffed in their mouths” in a newspaper. A book about the Sharpeville Massacre (Philip Frankel's An Ordinary Atrocity) uses the word “disembowelment” to describe what happened to some of the victims—but says that some lucky dead cops were simply stoned to death by rioters, who were, of course, “unarmed.”

You may never have heard of it—but you can bet the police at Sharpeville had heard of it.  If they hadn’t, the Sharpeville rioters were willing to remind them: “We took great delight in shouting ‘Cato Manor' … because we knew it would disturb the Boers," said a surviving rioter [Book Review: An Ordinary Atrocity, by Leon Engelbrecht,, May 4, 2009].

But I don't expect Noah to agree with that; remember, the factor that allowed him to support the police against the panga and knobkerrie-armed mob was that both sides were black.

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