This book has generated a lot of “buzz” in the last 6 months and won 2 NAACP Image awards. It is a New York times best seller. This is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I was able to learn a lot form Trevor Noah, and i am sure you can too.
Trevor Noah spent his early childhood in South Africa during the later years of Apartheid. He lived in soweto (a black town in South Africa) with his grandmother for a while and later moved back with his mum. At that thime in South Africa it was illegal for whites and blacks to get married let alone have a child. His mother who is a black woman from the Xhosa tribe in South Africa decided she wanted to have a baby in her early/mid twenties. She decided that the father of her baby would be a Swiss man who befriended her.
Since it was illegal for them to be seen at that time they could hardly go out together as a family. On occasions where they went to the park together, his mother had to pretend to be his maid, his father walked further in front of them pretending like he did not know them and a coloured woman who was his mum’s friend had to act like his mother.
Unlike the USA, in South Africa mixed raced people were not seen as black, they were called “coloured” and coloured people in sense had their own neighbourhoods and were not meant to marry or interact closely with the other races. Trevor expalins the hstory of coloured people in South Africa in his book. This means Trevor would have been taken away from both parents and kept in a coloured orphanage with a bunch of strangers. Trevor grew up with the black side of his family so he was often seen as an outsider because he looked coloured but acted black. This made it easier for him to manuever between worlds.
Trevor and his mother have a very adventerous relationship. His parents broke up and he lost contact with his father for a while so he only had his mother growing up. His mum is a unique character and in turn an unconventional but loving mother. Trevor describes incidents of her pushing him out of a moving bus to save his life and also having to attend at least 3 church services every sunday. He also talks about the abusive relationship his mother had with his stepfather who ended up almost killing her.
He mentioned getting into so much trouble as a kid; burning a house down,stealing holy communion, shoplifting and many other things. He was so poor while growing up that at times they had to eat catterpillars because they could not afford meat. This just proves that no matter how bad your situation is, there are good times ahead. The story goes on to talk about his adolescent adventures and his on and off relationship with his dad.
He hustled on the streets of Johannesburg for 3 years and spent some time in jail . He mentioned briefly how he managed to turn his situation around to become the man he is today.This is a hilarious and compelling story and there is a lesson to be learnt by everyone.