Seamless stitching of comedy and tragedy
Trevor Noah has penned a wonderful memoir of his journey in his book “Born a Crime”. A peculiar name to pick for book. Why you ask? He was born out of wed-lock, to his black Xhosa mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah and white Swiss father, Robert. In those days of apartheid, such a union was considered serious criminal offence and punishable by 5 years in prison.
Trevor and his mother formed a team, rather than mother-son relationship. His recount of his early days woven with constant fear of government, struggling to have food on table to unabashedly accepting the opportunities on the way, makes the book worth every second of reading it.
His mother has been portrayed as an epitome of courage and defiance. She juggled between her rebellious nature and her unwavering religious faith. She put in all her positivism into saving her son from “Black Tax”. Trevor Noah entertains us with recounts of her frugal measures to save money (from cooking caterpillar for dinner to getting free books for her son to read). She never missed a chance to discipline her naughty son, who also had certain thrill for “fire”. Having suffered the extremities of poverty herself, she defied every rule to get a better life and live it on her own terms. Her stubbornness eventually helped her to liberate herself from the vicious cycle of poverty.
Trevor monetizes his skills in every possible way. In school, he used to be champion in running. He used to take highest bid from students who placed order with him to stand first in queue for food truck. Over the years, he falls prey to snares of easy money through petty crimes. He has slept in his step-father’s garage while helping out in tasks. He has sold pirated CDs in market and later started mixing CDs. With help from his friend Sizwe, he started getting DJ gigs around his place. He never shied away from any opportunity to earn money, no matter how meager it may be.
He has covered gender roles, racism, personal relationships and domestic abuse with such honest anecdotes. He teaches how to look for silver linings in dark clouds. His steadfast candid insight makes the book a humorous read twined with life-lessons. In 2019, Trevor Noah has become the fourth highest paid comedian in the world. His journey from pitfalls of Hood to the “Light,Sound,Action” life of “The Daily Show” is truly an inspirational one!