Born a Crime
By Trevor Noah
Spiegel & Grau, 2016
Trevor Noah, a South African comedian and host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central, has written a can’t-put-down autobiography about
growing up in the ghetto of Soweto during the closing years of Apartheid. In his book, Born a Crime, Noah provides clear examples which
explain the history of Apartheid from it establishment in the late 1800s to modern time. In every chapter he provides the reader with
life lessons in the legal morass of Apartheid that he had to deal with as a child.
The title, Born a Crime, is based on the illegality of Noah’s birth. His mom was a black from the tribe Xshoa and his father was a
white German/Swede. His dad was as active in Trevor’s life as possible though he could never openly acknowledge Trevor as his son nor
marry Trevor’s mom. He referred to his dad as Robert. If he called him daddy in public they risked being turned in to the government which
would send Trevor to an orphanage and his dad to jail.
Born a Crime is more than an autobiography. It is a book of history and faith. The American reader who may remember the days of “Jim Crow”
will be amazed at the extent and laws of Apartheid. He also shows the amazing trust in God that was an everyday part of his mother’s life,
helping her be a strong black woman who refused to bow to the harsh laws and oppression of Apartheid. Her favorite verse was, “If God be for me, who can be against me.”
(Special thanks to Tony Collins at the San Manuel Library for this review.)