Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2016-11-25 17:34Z by Steven

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Spiegel & Grau (an imprint of Random House)
2016-11-15
204 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0399588174

Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

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How Trevor Noah went from biracial youth in S. Africa to leading light on U.S. TV

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2016-11-13 22:20Z by Steven

How Trevor Noah went from biracial youth in S. Africa to leading light on U.S. TV

The Washington Post
2016-11-12

Karen Heller, National Features Writer


Daily Show” host Trevor Noah has a new memoir about growing up mixed race in apartheid South Africa. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — Trump. Trump. Clinton. The Obamas dancing like dorks.

Such is the stuff of a recent pre-election morning meeting at “The Daily Show” headquarters. Trevor Noah enters, water bottle and orange in hand, and wedges himself in among the writers, his back never pressing against the sofa.

“Can we talk about Brexit?” he asks. “I find Brexit fascinating, because in the U.S., people see it as done and dusted.”

They talk of Brexit, how British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resembles a Muppet. But then the discussion swiftly returns to the steady drip of Trump, Trump, Trump.

You may hire a guy for his global perspective, but comedy comes back to the familiar fast.

Last year, after a 16-year reign, Jon Stewart was replaced by a young comedian who is nothing like him: foreign, biracial, cool, GQ-photogenic and utterly unknown to Americans, having appeared on the show only three times before being tapped as the successor….

Read the entire article here.

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Trevor Noah Wasn’t Expecting Liberal Hatred

Posted in Africa, Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, South Africa, United States on 2016-11-03 01:20Z by Steven

Trevor Noah Wasn’t Expecting Liberal Hatred

The New York Times Magazine
2016-11-02

Ana Marie Cox

Your memoir, “Born a Crime,” is a striking depiction of your life in South Africa both under and after apartheid. How has that experience formed your perspective on the divisions we’re seeing in America because of the election? America is the place that always seems to treat the symptoms and not the cause. In South Africa, we’re very good at trying to go for the cause of racism. One thing that really never happened here, which is strange to me, was a period where white America had to reconcile with what it had done to black Americans.

I wonder if one difference is that in South Africa, no one could deny that the root of it all was racism, whereas here, people think there’s more ambiguity. What’s scary is how many people don’t realize that racism is written into your system in America. We had a very simple, blatant system. You could see where the tumor was, and you could cut it out. In America, the tumor masquerades as an organ, and you don’t know which parts to cut out because it’s hard to convince people that there’s a problem in the first place…

Read the entire interview here.

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Trevor Noah: The First Time I Drove a Car. (I Was 6.)

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-10-30 16:16Z by Steven

Trevor Noah: The First Time I Drove a Car. (I Was 6.)

The New York Times
2016-10-25

Trevor Noah


Trevor Noah, at 3 years old, with his mother.

Trevor Noah is the host of “The Daily Show” and the author of “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood” (Spiegel & Grau). This is an edited excerpt from the book.

When I was 5 years old, we moved to Eden Park, a neighborhood adjacent to several black townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg — half-colored and half-black, my mother figured, like us. It was me and her, alone. There was this sense of the two of us embarking on a grand adventure. We weren’t just mother and son. We were a team.

Eden Park was one of those “suburbs” that are actually out on the edge of civilization, the kind of place where property developers have said: “Hey, poor people. You can live the good life, too. Here’s a house. In the middle of nowhere. But look, you have a yard!”

It was when we moved to Eden Park that we finally got a car, the beat-up, tangerine Volkswagen Beetle my mother bought secondhand for next to nothing, which was more than it was worth. One out of five times, it wouldn’t start. There was no A-C. Any time I made the mistake of turning on the fan, the vent would fart bits of leaves and dust all over me.

Whenever it broke down, we’d catch minibuses, or sometimes we’d hitchhike. My mom would make me hide in the bushes because she knew men would stop for a woman but not a woman with a child. She’d stand by the road, the driver would pull over, she’d open the door and then whistle, and I’d come running up to the car. I would watch their faces drop as they realized they weren’t picking up an attractive single woman but an attractive single woman with a fat little kid…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed race children celebrate their ‘cultural cocktail’ heritage

Posted in Africa, Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-09-30 19:23Z by Steven

Mixed race children celebrate their ‘cultural cocktail’ heritage

Times Live
Johannesburg, South Africa
2016-09-23

Nomahlubi Jordaan, Courts and Law Reporter

Food‚ language and tradition of diverse cultures are the essence of the heritage of children born from multiracial families.

Mark Andrew Sunners‚ a hip hop producer‚ was born in Liverpool in England from a white English father and Xhosa mother from Grahamstown. He was raised in Gaborone in Botswana.

He describes himself as “a bit of a cultural cocktail”.

“I follow both sides. When my mother was still alive I would go to umgidi [traditional celebration of a rite of passage] and imisebenzi [traditional ceremonies] with her as often as she asked. I do from time to time now‚ but definitely not as often.

As a “multicultural” Sunners says he celebrates “typical Western holidays”‚ “but I don’t celebrate a lot of my Xhosa practices as much as I did growing up”.

“I don’t feel I belong to just one culture because I don’t. I belong to both. It is difficult to celebrate Heritage Day purely from a Xhosa or from an English perspective.

“I celebrate Heritage Day with those who mean the most to me‚ family and friends alike. We are all South African‚” says Sunners.

Born from a Xhosa father and English South African mother‚ Cayla Zukiswa Jack‚ 20‚ a University of Cape Town student‚ says a mixed race woman she prefers being in a “diverse” atmosphere.

“That is where I feel comfortable.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Mixedness in the Contemporary United States and South Africa: On the Politics of Impurity and Antiracist Praxis

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Philosophy, South Africa, United States on 2016-07-18 23:26Z by Steven

Racial Mixedness in the Contemporary United States and South Africa: On the Politics of Impurity and Antiracist Praxis

Critical Philosophy of Race
Volume 4, Issue 2, 2016
pages 182-204

Desiree Valentine, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Philosophy; Department of Women’s Studies
Pennsylvania State University

This article is motivated by a concern about the increasing embrace of apolitical and ahistorical notions of racial “mixedness” and “impurity.” It draws on recent examples from the United States and South Africa in order to direct attention to the difficulties of identifying logics that, on the face of it, seem to evade conventional claims of racism, but nevertheless, as it will argue, rely on racist notions that must be challenged. These include examples in the United States and South Africa of individuals self-identifying as a stand-alone mixed race category (and furthermore espousing this as a “pure” category of belonging) as well as white Afrikaners in South Africa uncritically appropriating claims to mixed heritage. This article is critical of these phenomena because of what it finds to be a lack of politically and historically situated understandings of the notions of purity and impurity and their relation to racism.

Read or purchase the article here

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The Myth of White Purity and Narratives That Fed Racism in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-07-16 15:25Z by Steven

The Myth of White Purity and Narratives That Fed Racism in South Africa

The Wire
2016-06-18

Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


An apartheid-era sign from South Africa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The rhetoric of racial purity is full of suggestive terms like illness, weakening and dilution. These imply the medicalisation of the nation.

In this extract from her book The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa, Nicky Falkof explores how ideas about disease, risk and danger that the apartheid government applied to black people were transposed onto fears about Satanism during the 1980s.

The grand apartheid regime’s most pressing fear was gelykstelling, an Afrikaans word that means “equalisation”. It believed that this would bring on the “mishmash cohabitation” and eventual bloedvermenging – blood mixing – that threatened the purity of the white race.

During the run-up to the 1938 election, the National Party campaigned on the argument that the ruling United Party’s policy of allowing mixed marriages would cause mass miscegenation. This, in the words of Afrikaans intellectual N.J. van der Merwe, would lead to “mixing of the blood and the ruin of the white race”.

During the 1970s Afrikaans genealogist J.A. Heese uncovered records of more than 1,200 European men in South Africa who married non-white women between 1652 and 1800. Through this he determined that approximately 7.2% of Afrikaner heritage was non-white. This complicated history was not admissible within the apartheid imaginary…

Read the entire article here.

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Marrying Black Girls for Guys who aren’t Black

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2016-07-16 14:48Z by Steven

Marrying Black Girls for Guys who aren’t Black

Jacana Media
October 2013
256 pages
198 x 130mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781920601287
d-PDF ISBN: 9781920601294
ePUB ISBN: 9781920601300
mobi file ISBN: 9781920601317

Hagen Engler

White guy Hagen Engler had been married to his black wife for a couple of years before he realised he was still a racist! Marrying Black Girls for Guys Who Aren’t Black describes his journey from being the whitest person this side of a Smokie concert to being slightly blacker, if not visibly so. Combining anecdotes, rhymes, essays and freestyle political discourse, the book charts a personal route to an integrated society in Unit 2, Sandown Court, Johannesburg. As the newly disenfranchised minority in his lounge, Hagen has gained a fresh insight into the struggles of the oppressed. Living with a gorgeous, militant black woman has helped this armchair liberal understand cultural and economic reality and also realise that while he can appreciate the kwaito-house works of Oskido and the later releases of Letta Mbuli, he will never enjoy Basketball Wives, Kenny Lattimore, or boiled tripe. The jury’s still out on umleqwa too. Once you make your peace with skin colour, does race even exist? Or is culture what distinguishes us? What happens when a surfer/bungee-jumper/rock ’n’ roll goofball hooks up with a black-diamond struggle veteran and shoe fetishist?

It’s hard to be a neoliberal hardliner when your partner’s real-life experience undermines all your prejudices. It’s cultural exchange over the TV remote; race relations in the contested space between the sink, the toaster and the microwave, as yet another mixed marriage cocks up the race debate. Hagen Engler learns about himself and our emerging, common culture as much as his lovely black wife in How to Marry a Black Chick for Guys who are White.

He has surfed Hawaii, run the Comrades, climbed Kilimanjaro, been sued by a clown and eaten a praying mantis. So a lot of the bucket-list boxes have been ticked.

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End of Whiteness: Satanism & Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

Posted in Africa, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2016-07-16 02:11Z by Steven

End of Whiteness: Satanism & Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

Jacana Media
March 2016
240 pages
235x155mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781431423279

Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Satanism and family murder – bizarre responses to fear of change. This book examines the effects that apartheid may have had on those who benefitted from it the most.

The End of Whiteness aims to reveal the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa, and overall to show that whiteness is a deeply problematic category that needs to be deconstructed and thoughtfully considered.

This book uses contemporary media material to investigate two symptoms of this late apartheid cultural hysteria that appeared throughout the contemporary media and in popular literature during the 1980s and 1990s, showing their relation to white anxieties about social change, the potential loss of privilege and the destabilisation of the country that were imagined to be an inevitable consequence of majority rule.

The ‘Satanic panic’ revolved around the apparent threat posed by a cult of white Satanists that was never proven to exist but was nonetheless repeatedly accused of conspiracy, murder, rape, drug-dealing, cannibalism and bestiality, and blamed for the imminent destruction of white Christian civilisation in South Africa.

During the same period an unusually high number of domestic murder-suicides occurred, with parents killing themselves and their children or other family members by gunshot, fire, poison, gas, even crossbows and drownings. This so-called epidemic of family murder was treated by police, press and social scientists as a plague that specifically affected white Afrikaans families. These double monsters, both fantastic and real, helped to disembowel the clarities of whiteness even as they were born out of threats to it. Deep within its self-regarding modernity and renegotiation of identity, contemporary white South Africa still wears those scars of cultural pathology.

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Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2016-04-02 16:59Z by Steven

Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’

The Guardian
2016-04-02

Lanre Bakare, Deputy Arts Editor


Trevor Noah photographed at the Daily Show offices.
Photograph: Christopher Lane

Six months ago the South African comic took on the trickiest task in comedy; replacing Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show. What’s he learned so far? Always keep your cool

Trevor Noah is perched on top of a bank of chairs in the Daily Show conference room. It’s a Friday, which means there’s no live show, and Noah has time to clown around, undergoing half-a-dozen tie changes while being photographed by the Guide. This room is usually the hallowed space where the writers share their ideas and hone jokes for America’s best-known political satire, but right now Noah has his arms outspread and is tottering around as if he’s about to fall over. “That’s good,” says the Guide’s photographer. “Keep doing that airplane thing,” he adds as Noah regains his balance. “Airplane?” asks Noah with faux-incredulity. “That’s what you thought that was? Interesting. This is like a Rorschach test: you see whatever you want.”

Since the 32-year-old South African took over from Jon Stewart, who retired last August after 16 years in charge, his tenure at the Daily Show has been open to interpretation too. Some see a confident, charismatic comedy talent and a welcome point of difference in a bland – and white – late-night landscape, while others see him as an unwelcome reformist who has defaced the Daily Show that Stewart built…

…“For me growing up as a mixed-race person, you’re forced to see both sides,” he explains. “I grew up in a house where my mother was Xhosa, my dad was Swiss, my stepdad was Shangaan, my friends were Zulu. I lived in such a melting pot that I never grew up with a preconceived notion of ‘people’. Because of that it helped my comedy because I could play within the nuance of that world.”…

Read the entire article here.

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