trevor noah grammy

Trevor Noah during the 91st Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in 2019. Photo: USA TODAY/Robert Deutsch

Trevor Noah snubs King Goodwill Zwelithini’s humanitarian award

Actress Charlize Theron will now be the recipient of the award that was originally meant for the comedian and talk show host.

trevor noah grammy

Trevor Noah during the 91st Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in 2019. Photo: USA TODAY/Robert Deutsch

For months, the Bayede Foundation, founded by Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini, has tried to get in contact with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah. 

According to Sunday World, Noah has ignored the efforts of the foundation which intended to nominate and award him at the request of Zwelithini with a humanitarian accolade in honour of his charity work and contribution to uplifting his community. 

Trevor Noah Foundation

The 36-year-old talk show host and comedian is the founder of the non-profit Trevor Noah Foundation which focuses on raising funds for education in the country.

It also contributes towards a changemakers’ initiative which sponsors 40 students from 13 countries to participate in a residency programme in partnership with the University of South Africa (Unisa) annually. 

Together with President Cyril Ramaphosa and 50 other recipients, Noah would have received Zwelithini’s award at a ceremony in April. 

No response forthcoming

However, the comedian’s publicity team had not responded to e-mails sent by the foundation’s CEO, Rhana Naicker.

“We are now considering retracting the nomination because we are getting an indication that he does not want the award,” said Naicker.

Noah’s mother, Patricia, was also contacted by the Bayede Foundation, but she could only provide an e-mail address for the New York-based star. Patricia added that it was up to her son to acknowledge the award and decide if he wanted to receive it. 

Charlize Theron next in line

Hollywood-based South African actress Charlize Theron has been identified as the new recipient of the award, replacing the Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood author, said Naicker.

Interestingly, Noah and Theron have collaborated on philanthropic work before. In 2017, they joined South African charity Life Choices, which aims to invest into youth projects to bridge the gap in wealth inequality. The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project is also a donor to the organisation.

“The king and Charlize Theron have a long-lasting relationship, especially since she started doing charity work in KwaZulu-Natal. We are just waiting for her to indicate if she will be able to collect the award in person or she will send someone else to do so,” Naicker told the publication.

Noah was recently in the country to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation. He played in a doubles tennis match with Bill Gates, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal during the Match in Africa. A total of R54 million was raised with the crowd setting a new world record for the largest attendance at a tennis match.