Thursday, November 24, 2022

Book- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah begins by sharing two pieces of Law.  It's a crime when a white man sleeps with black woman and black man sleeps with white woman-vice versa. A Xhosa woman meets Noah's father who is from Swiss. Voila, Noah born out of crime. 

Through the history of South Africa, tribes and religion, we get to read the story of Trevor Noah that talks of racism, religion, survival, pre and post apartheid days of South Africa.

Trevor lived through the times when Nelson Mandela brought democracy and freedom to a lot of his people in South Africa. It's interesting how there are whites, Afrikaans, blacks, Xhosa, Zulus and many more tribes. No wonder, South Africa had to come up with 11 official languages post apartheid. 

Apartheid can be one interesting subject to study how oppressors rule. The rules are for those who go against the oppressors. For oppressors, there are no rules or law, atleast in action. Japanese are considered whites where as Chinese as colored. Trevor wonders how South African policeman can differentiate both by their faces and check if they are following the rules. 

Nombuyiselo Noah,  mother of Trevor Noah is a brave woman who survived hardships, lived through the extreme poverty and has seen it all. Her story gives us a glimpse of what poverty can taste like. You mix water and mud to eat the milky clay just to stay out of hunger. She survived the hardships and tried to live in this oppressing system. She decided to have baby with white man, even if it was forbidden. She wanted someone whom she can love unconditionally and live for. She wanted  a baby! Thus, she asked out a swiss white man, whom she trusted to help her in this whole process. She had Trevor who is neither black nor white, a colored child. Thus begins Trevor's story. 

Trevor is clueless about his identity, all throughout his life. He is not too white to hang out with whites. Neither he is too black to be called blacks. He's colored, a rarity, who has tough time being accepted wherever he goes. 

Describing the struggle to find his group, he talks of his schooling, his skill of speaking many language opened many gates for him. He got a lot of places to go but, not a place to call his own!.

"I became chameleon. My color didn't change but, I could change your perception of my color. If you spoke to me in Zulu, I replied to you in Zulu. If you spoke to me in Tswana, I replied to you in Tswana. Maybe, I didn't look like you, but If I spoke like you, I was you."

He talked about his friends, Teddy, partner in crime and his stint as tuck shop guy. He takes us to the places he lived and survived as a teen. It's interesting how he saw hustling and how it took over good time of his life. 

During his childhood, he mostly spent his time at home. He's both mischevious and hungry. He burnt a house down by a magnifying glass and match sticks. He ended up in Jail for stealing a car. There's other side of him who struggles to have his way with girls. He talked about girls and his stints at love in his life. Enjoyed reading the funny story of how language disrupted his prom dance. 

I could imagine the hood he lived through his 20s and how the life went. It's quite a page turner and it's well written. Thanks Jishan for gifting me this. Enjoyed it totally!

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