“Whereas most children were proof their parents’ love, I was proof of their criminality.” wrote Trevor Noah
An Illegal Existence
When I read biblical accounts of how the pharaoh ordered the death of every newly born male child, I thought such incidents were restricted to that era until I read Trevor Noah’s account of his 80's childhood.
“Whereas most children were proof their parents’ love, I was proof of their criminality.” wrote Trevor Noah, in his book: Born A crime - Stories From A South African Childhood.
When I read that quote, I believe, I found the subtle difference between racism and apartheid. The difference is that whereas racism dehumanizes people as they exist, apartheid didn’t allow for people to exist, in the first place.
Trevor Noah was born to a Swiss/German father and Xhosa mother in South Africa, under the fierce reign of the immorality act, which prohibited illicit carnal intercourse between Europeans and natives and other acts in relation thereto.
So, in those multi-pronged, inhumane apartheid conditions, Trevor Noah’s birth and existence were illegal. Like all odds in life, this one was another to be overcome by this mixed-race boy. He did overcome it, thanks to his resilient mother.
Trevor Noah’s Mom Was A Template Of Heroic Living
Trevor Noah’s mother was not only as fearless as lioness protecting its cubs but also a template of heroic living. She had an inability to discipline her grand appetite for dominance.
She went at length to not only get what she wanted but also survive amid the inhumane policies of their days. As most Xhosa women drowned in pity and dread, Trevor’s mother penetrated the boundaries and found ways to work for the Europeans.
She learned English and how to type thereby getting an upper edge to work in European led offices as a secretary. It was illegal for a black to get anywhere close to a white but she made white friends who were somewhat indifferent to the law, thereby giving her custody in their homesteads. This is how she met Trevor’s father.
Even when she was aware of the consequences of dating a European, Trevor’s mother determined to persuade the Swiss/German man to impregnate her.
“I didn’t ask you to have a kid. I asked you to help me to have my kid. I just want the sperm from you.” This is what Trevor’s mom told the hesitant Swiss/German man. For crying out loud, she just wanted a mixed-race child even if it meant solo-parenting!
This is just a glimpse of how Trevor’s mother championed his existence in an environment that deemed his existence illegal. You don’t want to miss more this treatise. Check out Trevor Noah’s book: Born A crime - Stories From A South African Childhood.