Book Review : Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

Over the holidays, I read the book, “Born a Crime” by South African comedian, Trevor Noah. And what a wonderful read it is!

Trevor weaves stories from his childhood into the greater debate on social challenges and nation building so wonderfully that I found myself nodding as I turn every page, not to mention the fact that I was laughing after virtually every chapter.

Trevor shares various stories from his childhood, most of which are brutally honest about his upbringing. He chronicles life in the township from an early age with some harrowing stories, one of which where his mother threw him out of a moving taxi in order to save him from a dangerous situation. But there are also funny vignettes from his many debates – and hidings – with his mother. In truth, his childhood was just like those who grew up in sub-economic, pre-democracy South Africa.

But in his stories, he eloquently elaborates on the social challenges facing those who lived in the townships. Many of us came from single parent households, or were reared by our grandparents. Trevor’s biological father was Swiss-German, and because of the apartheid laws, he wasn’t allowed to be seen with him in public. Hence, apart from the weekly visits to him, he didn’t know his father very well, which is all too common in this situation. Later on, he outlines how abusive his stepfather was, to the point of shooting his mother in a rage-filled attack. Again, domestic violence is a blight on the South African psyche, and a phenomenon all too common in the townships.

Which leads to the 3rd area where Trevor’s book strikes a nerve. He very rightly notes that resources for underprivileged people are essential for poverty alleviation. In the book, he takes the analogy of ‘Teach a man to fish’ one step further, by noting that, without a fishing rod, the man won’t be able to fish anyway. And he’s 100% correct. Previously disadvantaged people need resources AS WELL AS education in order to break the cycle of poverty. This will be the best way to achieve sustainable growth and a prosperous South Africa for all. Of course, that would mean that the ‘Haves’ will have to give to the ‘Have nots’ like never before, but that’s another story for another post.

All in all, it is a wonderful book that is an easy read, and gives you a fantastic insight into his life.

Read this book.

Review : Annie

Annie, currently on stage at the Artscape Theatre until 08 January 2017.
Annie, currently on stage at the Artscape Theatre until 08 January 2017.
This past Saturday, I went to the opening night of the stage production of Annie at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town, and what a masterful production it is.

This well-loved play has an excellent cast, with the orphans comprising of 3 teams. The team (Liberty) that was on stage was led by Emma-Rose Blacher, who gave a command performance in the lead role. The rest of the cast is stellar too, with Charon Williams Ros playing Miss Hannigan and Neels Classen doing the role of Daddy Warbucks supreme justice.

But what is this musical without its signature tunes. “Maybe”, “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and “Easy Street” were the standouts for me, while “Tomorrow” (including the reprise) was quite the tearjerker. The music director, Bryan Schimmel, deserves the credit for producing these numbers so very well.

The rest of the cast, ensemble and back stage crew combine to make this production a world class event, and definitely should not be missed this festive season. If you’re looking to take that special someone to see a fantastic show, or to treat the family to a wonderful night out, then this should be on your list.

It runs at the Artscape until 08 January 2017, and tickets range from R100 – R500.

Don’t miss out!