Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” A must read for people of all ages


Abdifarhan Ahmed

If you have been looking for a book to read that is pure comedy and engaging, look no further than Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime.” Although it is four years old, it is still relevant to this day. You will find yourself experiencing a wide range of emotions from happiness to sadness. 

Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, television host, producer, writer, political commentator, and actor. He is the host of The Daily Show, an American satirical news program on Comedy Central. Noah recounts his childhood in South Africa under the apartheid government in his autobiography Born a Crime.” Born in 1984 to a Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, Noah was not only an anomaly, but his whole existence was illegal because the government outlawed relationships between people of different races, hence the title Born a Crime. Each chapter contains a short preface, mostly about the historical and social context behind the incidents he recounts. The first part, chapters one through eight presents a picture of Noah’s family under the Apartheid regime. In the second part of Born a Crime chapter 9 through 14, Noah provides several shorter personal stories of his youth focusing on his relationships with people his age and his early romantic blunders. The third and final part of born a crime, chapters 15 through 18follows Noah’s growing independence at the end of high school as he transforms his CD empire into a group of dancers and intermediaries. 

Noah is a guy who finds comedy in tragic situations and somehow gleefully spins yarns about experiences that would keep most people in therapy for a long time. There is something in comedy, a kind of genius, that allows people to encounter the most devastating of truths through the protective lens of laughter. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I learned a lot about the apartheid system in South Africa. I knew about it before but not in detail. I got to learn more about it from someone who experienced it firsthand. I went through a range of emotions reading Noah’s stories growing up in South Africa. I cried, I laughed, I was happy, I was sad, I was angry. I experienced almost every emotion that could be experienced. It was a thrill of a ride so much so, I read it again and again. 

I would recommend this book to anyone that has the patience to sit down and read. Even if you can’t sit down and read, there is an audiobook you can listen to, read by none other than Trevor Noah himself. If you know anything about Trevor Noah, you know that he is a good voice impersonator. One second he sounds like himself, the next second, you hear Barack Obama. He has a talent for it which makes the audiobook that much better. You should read or listen to this book by all means. Read it to learn more about Apartheid from someone who went through it or read for Trevor Noahor maybe even read it for the comedy. Whatever you do, make sure you read it.