Tag Archives: South Africa

South African Roots and Apartheid’s Influence, with a Sense of Humor

What's Nonfiction?

Book review: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.

Apartheid is one of those subjects that I know embarrassingly little about beyond the basics. If you’re in the same position, I highly recommend comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s 2016 memoir, Born a Crime, of his unique experience growing up as mixed-race in apartheid-era South Africa. Noah was born to a South African Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father. His very existence was a serious crime under the laws of apartheid, under which both sexual and romantic relationships between blacks and whites was penalized criminally.

Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under total control. A full compendium of those laws would run more than three thousand pages and weigh approximately ten pounds…

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Born A Crime – Trevor Noah

Vivian Copeland's Best Books Of All Time

Comedy Central Daily Show Host, Trevor Noah, 33, details his childhood in South Africa, first under the despotism of apartheid and then after. The son of a white father and a black mother, Noah was born a crime since race mixing was, at the time, illegal. Light-skinned, he never fit comfortably into any racial mold. This book is more a paean to his mother than anything else. Fiercely religious and a strict disciplinarian, she refused to accept the status quo and made sure he had books and an education. Though admirable, his mother had problems which culminated in her being shot by an angry ex-husband. She survived, but the ex-husband walked with three years probation since police in South Africa routinely make light of domestic abuse. Equally chilling are the racial incidents Noah describes like being stopped by cops who took him and his friends to jail for no reason…

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