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Born a Crime PDF

Born a Crime (pdf) is an autobiographical comedy. Written by comedian Trevor Noah, it tells of his growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era. As the mixed-race son of a white father and a black mother, Noah was classified as “coloured” by the apartheid system. According to Noah, he stated that even under apartheid, he felt trouble fitting in because it was a crime to be born as a mixed-race baby.

Noah describes his mother as being stubborn, fearless, and an extraordinary teacher. She was a fiercely religious woman who took her son to three churches every Sunday. Attended a prayer meeting on Tuesday, then bible study on Wednesday, and youth church on Thursday. This was when black South Africans were rioting in the streets and most people were cowering in their homes.

The book opens with young Noah being thrown out of a minibus by his mother because she thought the driver, a man from another South African tribe, was going to kill them. Noah develops social and mental agility, using his fluency in languages to break the barrier to his acceptance as a mixed-race child. Growing up in poverty, he finds independence by earning money from selling illegal bootleg CDs, first at school and later on the streets of the notorious neighborhood of Alexandra. Noah describes the struggle of living with his abusive stepfather Abel. Through it all, his mother administers tough love and “old-school, Old Testament discipline”. When Noah is arrested while driving an unregistered car taken from Abel’s workshop without permission, he describes his fear of doing time in prison, and his mother lays down the law about crime and punishment. The book ends with the story of Noah’s mother being shot in the head by his abusive stepfather while she was returning from church with her family and her miraculous survival.


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