The most fundamental aspect for every woman and man is to leave footprints in the sands of time. The birth of a child is usually one of the most profound and exciting time of a parent’s life. For Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah the moment was set with excitement, joy, and the purest love any mother can have for a child. However, even with the deepest love, there was a veil hanging over the moment of the birth of her son. A veil of secrecy that concealed the identity and lineage of her son’s father and their crime.
Patricia was Xhosa, the father of her child was a Swiss-German, she gave birth to their first and only child together, Trevor Noah. His birth took place during a time of apartheid in South Africa, a time in which his birth was a crime, punishable my imprisonment.
Trevor Noah’s childhood was not an ordinary childhood, but then again, Trevor Noah was not an ordinary little boy. Not until his Daily Show debut, a late-night talk show on television on Comedy Central, many may have been unaware of the South African born comedian. Mr. Noah once a recurring contributor, succeeded Jon Stewart as the new Daily Show host. And if you ever wonder about the man behind the Daily Show persona, Mr. Noah has put pen to paper and filled in the blanks with his memoir titled Born A Crime.
Mr. Noah, the author, told his story of his childhood in such a way that you felt like you were having a conversation with him. Unlike a traditional memoir, the stories did not fall in any traditional order, but instead told by times and events that impacted his life. Although there were no pictures in this book, you were filled with clear images in your mind of the sights, sounds, and taste of South Africa, as South Africa and Mr. Noah metamorphosis during apartheid, the collapse of apartheid, and post-apartheid.
At times, as a reader you may have felt that Mr. Noah, a half white, and half black, was a man without a country. But it was quite clear that Mr. Noah represented every aspect of South Africa and could adapt to every situation as it presented itself.
There is no denying that the most paramount goal for a man is to leave footprints in the sands of time, but there is always a point where you must be carried, and if you are lucky enough, the person that carries you will be your mother. Mr. Noah leaves no room for uncertainty who carried him before he could crawl as a boy or walk as a man. His mother’s fearlessness was evident throughout the entire book, her faith in God never wavering, her fearlessness often challenged Mr. Noah to be the best version of himself at every stage of his life. Whether Mr. Noah was entrepreneur or simply being a mischievous kid, there was always a lesson to be learned and she made sure he learned it.
But beyond the seriousness of the book, we got opportunity to see the comedian develop in Mr. Noah as a child from his quick come backs with his mom as they both debated on why they should or shouldn’t go to church during dangerous rioting in the streets, or his justification to himself as he turns his grandmother’s kitchen into a temporary out house. Born A Crime is not just about Mr. Noah’s childhood in South Africa, it’s about the two mothers that raised him. The mother, Patricia, who gave birth to him, and who nurtured him, and South Africa, the motherland that helped him grow through life lessons. This memoir, is no doubt, a homage to both.