Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Trevor Noah
Aug 24, 2017

As an avid watcher of The Daily Show, I knew Trevor Noah was born and raised in South Africa. What I didn't know was how amazing his life circumstances were growing up and just how much he had to overcome to be the person he is today. In Born A Crime, Noah chronicles his life as he remembers it, detailing not only his experiences but also the culture of South Africa just before, then after, the end of apartheid. During apartheid it was illegal for black and white people to be together, let alone have a child. Noah's birth, to a black mother and white father, made him literally born a crime.

With his comedic humor, Noah reflects on some very heavy topics, like racism, domestic violence, poverty, the criminal justice system and cultural diversity. Some of my favorite stories are of Noah using his gift for languages to navigate a region with a wide variety of dialects. Noah notes several instances where his linguistic ability was able to get him out of trouble, which had to be helpful for a young man who always seemed to be in trouble. From burning down homes to selling pirated CDs, it seems as though he was always doing something he illegal. And throughout the story we see the anchor of his very strong mother, trying hard to keep him on the right track and give him the opportunities she never had herself.

I recommend Born a Crime for anyone who is a fan of Trevor Noah or anyone interested in a first person account of South African life from a native growing up in the era around the end of apartheid.


Written by Library Staff