With a black mother of Bantu ethnicity and a white father of Swiss-German descent, raised in apartheid South Africa, Trevor Noah began his life considered a crime by his own government. Born in 1984, when interracial unions were still forbidden, the comedian has come a long way from his humble upbringing in Johannesburg.

As human beings, we want to tell the truth about what we see and comedy is essentially supposed to be that. Dick Gregory once said to me, 'The truth is way funnier than any joke you can try to concoct'.

Trevor Noah

He began his career at the age of 18, starring in a soap opera and then went on to host his own radio show, "Noah's Ark", which he eventually quit to focus on comedy.

Noah made a name for himself, attracting the attention of some of the world's most renowned comedians, like Jon Stewart. After moving to the United States in 2011, Noah would go on to become the first South African comedian to appear on "The Tonight Show" hosted by fellow comedian and actor Jimmy Fallon. After becoming a regular contributor to "The Daily Show", with over 200 writing credits under his belt, Jon Stewart handpicked him to be his successor as host of one of America's top political satire programs.

But as a foreigner in Trump's America, how does Noah's voice resonate? And can political satire be a force for change?

This week, comedian and TV host Trevor Noah talks to Al Jazeera. 

Asked about a recent comment he made, in which Noah related current events in the US to what he has already lived through in his life, the comedian expresses concern over worries that a culture of segregation and oppression is brewing.

"If you live in a place where people use economic instability to [place] blame on certain groups of people, those are the first steps to building a society that is isolated, and most importantly, seeks out to oppress," says Noah. "A leader like Trump who has shown - even in the little time that he has been in power - that he will use this to his advantage."

On the topic of whether the media has contributed to the rise of Trump and reports calculating free advertising worth billions of dollars of airtime, including on "The Daily Show", Noah says there is a distinct difference between unchallenged platforms and critiques of current affairs. 

"It's one thing to have Donald Trump on TV saying something and criticise that, call him out and fact-check him, dispel myths," he says. "It's another thing to put his podium on TV for two hours before he comes out, an empty podium ... what are you doing? You're giving the man free promotion." 

He continues: "As a comedy show, your job is to look for the truth, find the laughter and speak truth to power. Donald Trump will always be somebody that "The Daily Show" is looking at as long as he is involved in the realm of politics."

Discussing his newly released book, Born a Crime, Noah credits his upbringing with sheltering him from the potentially jarring trauma of experiencing the true meaning of being considered a product of illegal activity by his own government and people. 

"I did not know. I couldn't live with my father, but I did not know why. I could not walk with my mother in the streets at times, but I did not know why," he says. "The perception of your reality is everything. That's what I believe. What we perceive is often times more important than what is real. When I was older, I realised how many obstacles they had to get over just for us to exist as a family." 

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Source: Al Jazeera