The South African apartheid government was a brutal and legal form of racism that reigned over the nation for fifty years. However, racism and hierarchical classification systems had existed from the first conquest in the fifteen hundreds. The confusing and complicated history of South Africa, is, for the most part unknown by many present-day students. I know, for me personally, through public education in High School, I had history professors that went beyond the call of the syllabus to teach us as much as possible about the world. Sadly, there’s only so much information that can be squeezed into the cracks of time in a heavy workload.
It took taking a class focused on the history and current events of South Africa for me to learn about some basic information. For instance, the lingering imperialistic power as diamond mines were uncovered in the nation. Or, are you aware about the current student movement in South Africa forcing the continued integration of universities as well as removing the monument of Cecil Rhodes from campus? Do you know why students are fighting for this? When the apartheid government fell, South Africa issued one of the most progressive constitutions the world has ever seen, promising health care and housing for every citizen, along with human rights and education. A promise that far surpasses almost any other constitution in the world, where the problem lies in the execution of such for South Africa. Millions still live below the poverty line. It must be acknowledged that there is progress being made, but the slow rate of such and missteps by the ANC have been drastic.
But I wouldn’t have known any of that without my college class. I’ll also take a safe bet, that if you weren’t alive during the fall of Apartheid, you hadn’t known about that either. This is only one of the reasons that Born A Crime by Trevor Noah is such an important piece of literature. Trevor Noah is a public figure, he’s on late night television, his voice in current events in the United States or on celebrity matters has made him not only a relevant figure but also a somewhat comforting figure. Like an older brother informing you on the hidden ways of the world.
Although Trevor Noah has reached a level of success that many people only dream of, there are still millions in South Africa who can barely dream of such an outcome for themselves. Trevor Noah also brings to the table, other than emotional and hard stories from his upbringing, but an interesting wisdom to the social constructs of his society.
Trevor Noah was born to a black mother and to a white father, an existence and interaction outlawed by the Apartheid government. Although Trevor Noah, is biologically a mixed race or colored person, Trevor was raised by his black mother with the same social restrictions that black people in South Africa had. Trevor Noah has suffered through the gaps in education and prejudice, so when Trevor Noah speaks about advice and perception it comes not only from a place of understanding and sympathy for events but also his own experiences that shed light on a history lost to geography for many.
Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime receives ♥♥♥♥♥