In a seemingly grave moment, he translated the phrase as an inspiring call to unity in troubled times.
Queen opened the ceremony, the Oscars themselves were dished out, and Trevor Noah reminded the world of his chops as a comedian, and his heritage as a South African, when he introduced the nominee for Best Picture, Black Panther.
"He says, "abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka", which means 'In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart'".
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As the BBC's Pumza Fihlani noted, the actual English translation is, "White people don't know that I'm lying".
This was met with respectful clapping from the audience.
Noah's message, which received applause from the audience in the room, led into the Black Panther clip, and the show moved on.
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Edgar Hoover", the FBI's controversial first director who famously collected damaging information on prominent political figures. At the time , his statement was shocking as the newly inaugurated leader of a country that prides itself on press freedoms.
But the real phrase he spoke in the South African language has a much different translation.
Noah was born to a black mother of isiXhosa descent and a white Swiss-German father in 1984, at the height of racial segregation in South Africa. He brought up the film's universal appeal, joking that no matter where he went, people would relay Black Panther's rallying cry, "Wakanda Forever", to him, and that he grew up in Wakanda himself.
Trevor said: 'Even Mel Gibson said to me Wakanda Forever, he said something else after, but the Wakanda Part was nice'.
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