Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

Start Free Trial

Student Question

What are some key facts about Born a Crime?

Quick answer:

This book is a memoir from comedian Trevor Noah that focuses on his life and the broader difficulties of black South Africans under the apartheid regime. Trevor is biracial, and his birth is evidence of a crime within South Africa under apartheid. The memoir details the struggles encountered by his family in caring for him.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The book is a memoir by Trevor Noah. It starts with a description of his mother's life in South Africa during apartheid. During the apartheid regime, black Africans were severely limited with regard to job and educational prospects, and were segregated into areas where white South Africans did not live. These segregated areas generally received fewer services and, because of the sanctioned discrimination, were poorer.

However, the white South Africans needed black South Africans to perform service jobs in white areas, giving black South Africans the ability to temporarily enter these enclaves. Residing in these brutally segregated enclaves was not usually permitted. Trevor's mother flouted the rules and intentionally becomes pregnant with Trevor. His father is a German national who did not marry Trevor's mother. Since interracial relationships were not allowed in South Africa under apartheid, Trevor's very existence is evidence of a crime because he is clearly biracial.

After his birth the book describes the difficulties encountered by Trevor's mother and grandmother in caring for a biracial child in South Africa. The book also deals with issues related to the hardships suffered by black South Africans and emphasizes the importance of Christianity and patriarchal values in the country. After apartheid ends, the book describes the continuing difficulties faced by black South Africans.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial