Who would have thought a high school kid who hung out in the black neighbourhoods of South Africa, selling pirated CD’s and other stolen goods , would one day become the star host at The Daily Show ?
Moving from petty crime to comedy show host is a pretty remarkable career transformation. But after you read ‘Born a Crime‘ , you begin to understand how and why. The autobiography of Trevor Noah, host of popular The Daily Show on Comedy Central, is an amazing story, and one worth reading.
The secret of Noah’s success had to do a lot with the way he was brought up. By his single parent black mother. Noah was born in apartheid South Africa. Growing up, he discovered he was different from other black kids – he had a black mother who refused to be ghettoised in the black township of Soweto. Instead she took him to different churches all sunday. Noah wasn’t allowed pop songs or action movies. “So the Bible was my action movie ” he says. He was sent to a mixed school. His mother was a rebel, was one of the few black women with a white collar job (a typist) who decided deliberately to break the law and have him with a German Swiss father. Even though apartheid laws forbade mixed relationships (Therefore the title – Born a Crime – Noah’s very existence broke an apartheid law )
Not surprisingly Noah spent his life being an outsider, in every world – black , white and coloured. He writes of his childhood through simple incidents like losing a new bicycle, being stood up by a girlfriend , starting a rock band , selling pirated CD’s . But being an outsider also taught him to see things differently.
Born a Crime is a great book- and one worth reading. It’s a story that proves that sheer determination (and an obstinate mother) can lift anybody out of a life of crime and poverty to one of opportunity.
More on books and stories like these in Career Rules