Born a Crime – A (rare) book review

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“The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart-hate is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate on another so you can run them all.”

I visited Africa numerous times; I love the continent, the people, the colors and the beauty, but no matter how hard I tried, I could never really understand Apartheid.

“Born a Crime” is one of the best biographies I have read. This book surprised me -and that’s not so easily done. It’s about South Africa, about apartheid, poverty, domestic abuse and so much more. The writing is brilliant, there were moments when I had to stop reading because I needed to digest what I had just learned, and there were moments when I smiled or laughed out loud.

Trevor Noah, who I didn’t know before I read his book, is a South African comedian, actor and TV host and turns out, he is a very gifted storyteller and writer as well. I consider his book on of the rare treasures I found by accident. I bought the audiobook first and enjoyed Trevor’s voice, especially when he talked in the different dialects he grew up with. He cleverly narrated his own book and made me fall in love with him, his Mother, and his story.

Two weeks ago I bought the printed version, I wanted to read it one more time, in case I missed something.

Trevor Noah is COLORED. He has a (black) African mother and a (white) Swiss father. His existence is the evidence for his parent’s crime. Had the police discovered them, his parents would have been sent to jail, and Noah sent to an orphanage.  His parents could not be seen together with him, and his mother often had to pretend he was not her child. He spent much of his early life hidden away, indoors.

Being a white person who was born in Europe, I got so much insight from this book. My reality is very different. Trevar Noah helped me to understand the world I live in a little bit better.

And now, “Go order the book,” you can thank me later. 🙂



15 thoughts on “Born a Crime – A (rare) book review

  1. Love, love, love Trevor Noah, and have done since he took over “The Daily Show” from Jon Stewart. I started getting some of my “news” from Comedy Central recently, just before both Stewart and Stephen Colbert left the network. I missed both of them and apparently there were a lot like me who didn’t appreciate or enjoy the work of Colbert’s replacement, who clearly and overtly supported and occasionally hit you in the face, figuratively, with “Black Lives Matter” commentary. I’m not totally anti Larry Wilmore, though, since he helped to create and produce the situation comedy “Blackish”, which I think makes the same points but much more subtly. Never had a moment, though, where I didn’t immediately, completely and thoroughly enjoy Trevor. Aside from being adorable, with his impish grin, cute dimples and mildly sexy accent, he jumped right into our political mess, in a very even handed manner, considering his background, and continues to do so. I especially appreciate his fresh “outsider’s” perspective and his erudite and clearly well researched reactions to the confused state of our current near disunion. If more of the deplorably ignorant would only listen to a bit of his story, they might loosen up and begin to accept and appreciate both our diversity and our similarities, as I think Trevor Noah does.

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  2. Pingback: Born a Crime – A (Rare) Book Review | The Happy Quitter! – JoAnn Chateau

  3. Bought it! I’m so obedient. Actually, I was totally enchanted by that interview. I remember the period so well and boycotting South African food and endless arguments. I went to stay with my brother and sister-in-law in Kenya in 1972. I heard many people explaining how Africans were emigrating to South Africa, because they could get better pay there and how there were poor whites in Rhodesia as if this somehow made apartheid OK…

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  4. This is one of those blog posts that causes an avalanche of memories and feelings to come pouring down on me, making the formulation of comment rather complicated.
    It instantly brought me back to the later part of the 1960s, which I think of as my ‘loss of innocence’. The Richard Speck murders, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and a school paper I wrote on Apartheid. Each one of these introduced me to a world I didn’t want to know and changed me forever.

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