It's not comedy when the joke is on you

Comedian Trevor Noah sent tongues wagging on Twitter with his comical comments on Julius Malema./Noam Galai/Getty Images
Comedian Trevor Noah sent tongues wagging on Twitter with his comical comments on Julius Malema./Noam Galai/Getty Images

One of my favourite philosophers is Plato, mostly because he debunks the stodgy ideas people have of philosophy.

My favourite of his musings is The Allegory of the Cave.

The story speaks of a group of men who were kept in a dingy cave with no light and obviously no Wi-Fi.

Their only source of light was a fire behind them where their captors often held different objects that created shadowy figures the cavemen spent hours fascinating over.

For no apparent reason, other than a Generations: The Legacy-sized plot hole, one of the cavemen was freed.

Used to the world with no Wi-Fi and plenty of shadows, he is overwhelmed by the bright lights and the raucous of the world all around him.

When he finally gets acclimatised to the flashing lights he runs back to the cave to share a thorough account of his adventures and of course, his Wi-Fi password.

The cavemen, who have never known Wi-Fi, Starbucks coffee and the sales rack at Zara, are bewildered by their prodigal brother's tale.

To them, it's ridiculous that he thinks there is a world outside the darkness and shadows that they are used to.

They don't choose to engage his new discovery but instead, they scoff at it and return to the latest episode of shadows on the wall.

Being woke can be frightening and bothersome for those who refuse to leave the warm caverns of their minds.

With phrases like patriarchy, cisgender and appropriation, it becomes difficult to learn when you are overwhelmed by terms that are regurgitated by a clique of intellectuals who are too triggered and exhausted to speak to you like a normal person.

Trevor Noah recently had all kinds of woke and un-woke tongues wagging and Twitter fingers trolling when he made a joke about Julius Malema's comments on white genocide.

While the semantics of Trevor's delivery can dispel arguments that he is actively propagating a white genocide in the country, the crack is at how effortlessly Julius Malema speaks of racial based violence.

The offence is caught from how Trevor is creating a distorted image, an illusion in the cave if you will.

Which is where woke culture plays a role.

Whether it's calling out comedians like Leon Schuster or Louis CK; musicians like Erykah Badu or Steve Hofmeyr or even movie-makers like Harvey Weinstein and Woody Harrelson, we should engage with woke folk rather than sitting in the dark caves of our minds accepting the fact we already love R Kelly's music so why should we stop listening to it.

Not understanding the potential danger of Trevor's joke is as ignorant as accepting it's funny simply on the basis that he is a comedian and has the license to offend.

We need to step out of the comforts of our own worlds and not be afraid to learn the dizzying universe of woke folk.

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