I have just finished reading the autobiography of the well known South African comedian, Trevor Noah and I have to say it was hard to put down. Born to a black African mother and white Swiss father under the deplorable laws of Apartheid; Trevor’s very existence was a punishable crime.
Yet his mother didn’t care..she wanted a child to love and what a mother she was/is. Intelligent, strong, determined to live and give her son the opportunities in life he should have by rights as a human being.
Trevor tells stories from his childhood with the usual hilarious commonsense and blatant clarity that characterises the stage persona he shares with his audience on comedy tours around the world.
My teenage children have been watching him on YouTube for ages and following me with their ipads saying ” Just watch this one, mum. It’s so funny..” and I did. I laughed out loud.
Then I had to have the book and now my kids follow me around again, saying “have you finished it yet. I want to read it next. No don’t tell me what you’re laughing at..let me read it.”
Then there are the terribly sad parts of the book: Trevor strips Apartheid back to it’s dirty bare bones and explains the concept of white men coming to a black country and taking it over with lies and guns and then setting up a system fueled by hatred of those races and designed to keep black people poor, uneducated and in subjection for generations to come. Trevor speaks candidly about his own experiences and I was impressed by the lack of hostility he shows. He sees the funny and stupid side of the whole mess and takes you on the journey with him.
Through it all shines his indomitable mother, whom he dedicates the book to and that makes Trevor a son to be proud of.
“Born a Crime” is a worthwhile read and should one day be on the reading list for schools around the world, no matter what colour we are.