Trevor Noah Wins Prestigious Erasmus Prize
Trevor Noah is the first comic to win the prestigious Erasmus Prize since Charlie Chaplin in 1965.
Popular South African comic Trevor Noah has won the prestigious Erasmus Prize from The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation The award is named after Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus' most famous piece of work.
According to a statement from The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, Noah was receiving the prize “for his inspired contribution to the theme ‘In Praise of Folly,’ named after Erasmus’s most famous book, which is filled with humor, social criticism and political satire.” (Desiderius Erasmus was a an influential Dutch philosopher from the northern Renaissance era.)
Noah is the first comic since 1965 who has been awarded the honor. The last comic to win the prize was Charlie Chaplin, who received the honor in 1965. Since 1958, The Erasmus Prize has been awarded to recipients who are recognized for a wide range of achievements, including literature, music, philosophy, and social activism. Some of the notable recipients who have received the award in the past include Jorge Luis Borges, Isaiah Berlin, Ingmar Bergman, and Amartya Sen.
The panel who selects awardees for the prize include a committee of scholars and cultural experts who review nominations and make a recommendation to the board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation after weighing in on the strength of each candidate. After the recommendation, it is then up to the board to make the final decision on the recipient of the award. The prize is typically awarded in the fall during a ceremony in the Dutch royal palace in Amsterdam.
Beyond his work as a comic, the former Daily Show host has been vocal about his social justice advocacy and has been a strong advocate for human rights issues on a general scale. While he was a host on The Daily Show, he consistently used his voice to highlight other prominent Africans. It is safe to say that the 39-year-old has indeed made South Africa proud.