Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

24/7 Support


Assignment Help

ENGL 101- Essay #3: Education in Born a Crime

Sep 11, 2023

Essay #3: Education in Born a Crime


  1. Your essay should have a clear introduction, a clear thesis statement, distinct body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  2. Your essay will respond to the following prompt: How do educational opportunities impact Trevor Noah and his mother? What are some differences between how they obtain their education, and what challenges must they endure and overcome in order to go to school? Examine the effects of apartheid, and explain how or why the educational system is negatively impacted by it.

Essay 3: Education in “Born a Crime”

South African comedian Trevor Noah saw apartheid firsthand. The worth of resources and the importance of education are the two critical themes in Trevor’s novel, “Born a Crime”. In “Born a Crime”, education is a prominent and repeating subject. For instance, Trevor’s school never mentioned that Hitler was the true inspiration behind the practice of Apartheid, only ever teaching its students about the Holocaust. Even worse, because Black parents were required to give their children anglicized names at the time and were not taught about Hitler, many of them were given the name Hitler. How were they supposed to understand without education?

Even though teaching students about the bad past may be more crucial than the excellent one, this subject is often given the least amount of attention in school curricula. What prevents a student from repeating a mistake if they are not taught about past wrongs and how they affect the present? This particular method of instruction is highly detrimental and may lead to a variety of issues in the future (PUTURUHU, 935)

Educational opportunities impacted Trevor Noah and his mother a long way. Noah and his mother utilize education to widen their horizons, visualize the better lifestyles they want, and focus on locating and enhancing their employment prospects. Patricia fosters Noah’s capacity for critical thought at an early age, which is even more significant than formal schooling. Patricia teaches Noah English, provides him with literature (particularly fantasy, which piques his interest), and brings him to places black people never go so that Noah knows that the ghetto is not the world. Patricia spoke to [Noah] like an adult, as well. Because his mother lays such a strong focus on challenging existing rules and institutions of power, Noah learns to challenge preconceived ideas about his chances as a low-income South African instead of just accepting them. He discovers that the world was my oyster, I should stand out for myself, and His thoughts, opinions, and decisions counted, just like white kids do. Similarly, to this, Patricia’s education was crucial to her success (Tembo, 456). She had the chance to study English at a missionary school and pursue specialized job training, which assisted her in obtaining the secretary position that allowed her to support her children on her own.

Noah talks about how Black education has changed in South Africa. Before the advent of Apartheid, when they frequently acquired a top-notch education, they may have received their education from European missionaries. During the Apartheid era, the South African government established a system of Bantu schools, restricting Blacks’ access to education by only teaching them the fundamental skills needed for the low-skilled jobs they were supposed to occupy. He continues by outlining the formative years of his mother. The rapid divorce of Patricia’s parents led to a difficult existence for her, her mother, and her siblings. Grandma Patricia belonged to Noah. She had planned to live with her father, but due to an unforeseen circumstance, she was forced to relocate to her aunt’s farm in a far-off location. Patricia was reared in abject poverty, yet she received a superb education at a nearby mission school. Due to her dedication, she eventually gained training as a secretary and was recruited; nonetheless, she was required to utilize most of her salary to support her family. She made the choice to travel alone to Johannesburg out of sadness. Patricia was determined to teach Noah to be a smart, curious, and independent thinker after becoming a mother.

Additionally, he has issues with the Catholic school’s disciplinary procedures, in part because he isn’t shy about expressing his opinion that many religious doctrines are absurd. Noah’s mother frequently encourages him rather than corrects him when he disobeys the rules. Noah transfers to a public school as a result of his eventual expulsion from the Catholic school.

Noah does one of his most horrific acts when he is about seven years old. Patricia is seeing Abel, who lives above the garage of a white family. Noah develops friends with the Black maid’s little boy when Patricia and Noah periodically visit. One day, Noah and the other youngster are having fun using a magnifying glass and some matches to write words on pieces of wood. When not in use, the device ignites a mattress, and the fire quickly spreads throughout the entire house. Abel moves in with Noah and his mother after being expelled from the family, but Noah is not punished.

In his autobiography “Born a Crime”, South African comedian Trevor Noah discusses growing up during the country’s transition away from Apartheid, a system of white supremacy built on racial segregation, forced labor, and the disenfranchisement of non-whites. At the time, the nation was transitioning from this regime to a shaky democracy run by a majority-black populace. Because they are both parents, the fact that Noah was born to Patricia, a black Xhosa woman, and Robert, a white man, violates the Apartheid rules barring interracial relationships. Noah lives in purposeful poverty because his mother is a single parent, and apartheid laws were made to keep non-white people poor and powerless. Apartheid did not stop injustice or poverty; instead, it left significant scars, especially within the local African communities, which are still steeped in a culture of dread, misery, and violence.

Noah was raised in an apartheid society that actively oppressed and degraded people of color while giving them the impression that they were constantly under assault. By taking advantage of the seemingly insignificant differences between the groups, apartheid, in Noah’s view, shifted people’s attention away from the government and toward one another. For instance, it kept tensions between ethnic groups like the Zulu and Xhosa by dividing black, Indian, and colored people into various zones (Sidorova, 45637). The three manifestations of American racism- forced relocation, forced displacement, and enslavement- were combined in the particularly wicked system known as apartheid. Most importantly, it compels native Africans to leave their homes and relocate into townships, which are meant to be uninhabitable slums, or into rural areas of their countries that are unsuitable for farming. For instance, Noah claims that Soweto, a sizable township in South Africa, was built with bombing in mind. There are only two entrances and exits if the government chooses to execute and arrest citizens at the same time to quell the revolt. During Apartheid, the police frequently executed Soweto citizens; Noah saw the darkest, most random acts of brutality. Strangely, he has direct knowledge of how easy it is for white people to adjust to a system that gives them all the benefits because he is mixed race and hails from a black family. His grandmother feeds him as much as he wants and never corrects him since she doesn’t know how to swat a white child (Freestone, 11754). Therefore, he became well known in Soweto for having a light complexion. Even though democratic elections were held, apartheid continued in a substantial portion of South Africa. Black people can now access it but do not have the resources or opportunities to do so. Due to the fact that they do not educate their children for life in a capitalist society, white families still experience a lot of discrimination.

Since they had insurance, they weren’t financially harmed by Noah’s unintentional burning down of the White House. At the end of the book, when Noah’s mother is hurt, she is forced to pay for everything because she doesn’t have health insurance. Because they were unaware that, similar to how white companies currently dominate the market when they purchased a business- in this case, Noah’s stepfather Abel’s auto repair shop- they were also purchasing its debt, Noah’s family went bankrupt. Only aged black people who have completed their education in counting and can read and write are permitted by the government to learn their native dialect. This demonstrates the illiteracy of senior Black people. This shows that they cannot cooperate or build coalitions with members of other communities, even in democracies (Freestone, 6574). As Noah points out, this makes it easier to maintain the cycle of poverty and violence. He and his mother like to call success a “black tax”. Those who pay it must work even harder to get their families out of poverty. He discovers that no one can afford to leave the crowded ghetto of Alexandria even though people are still officially not being compelled to reside there by the government during the year he spends there after high school selling bogus CDs and old products.

Although Nelson Mandela’s new democratic government strived for equality, it was unable to fundamentally alter the pervasive inequality and corruption that continued to influence how low-income black South Africans dealt with the law and the government on a daily basis. The line between lawful activity and daily life is hazy in the underdeveloped slum of Alexandra; many of the people Noah knows are frequently in debt, and the police frequently harass him and his friends based solely on where they are from and how they appear. The DJs’ primary source of income, their equipment, was even once destroyed by the police. The majority of people held while awaiting bail have committed crimes to support their families, Noah discovers when he is briefly detained in the penultimate chapter for using one of his beat-up cars. The torture that Abel perpetrated on Patricia in the preceding chapter demonstrates that the police are unconcerned about violent crime, despite their willingness to punish low-income Black individuals for being inattentive. After Abel beats her, Patricia calls the police at least three times (Sidorova, 186). Nevertheless, even after Abel admits to attacking Patricia, they always stand by him. Abel eventually admits to killing her by shooting her in the head, but he escapes without serving a single day in prison.

Noah never limits his study to South Africa’s past, despite highlighting the terrible parts of Apartheid and the injustices that still exist; instead, he consistently emphasizes Apartheid’s ongoing effects and universal connections. Along with highlighting the lasting effects of Apartheid, he also uses South Africa as an example to show how governments can incite unrest among groups, they believe to be hostile to their interests. He also shows how often this results in a self-fulfilling prophecy that ensures that poverty and violence will become a way of life in some locations.

Works Cited

Freestone, Jack, et al. “Playing at the edges, navigating sexual boundaries, and narrating sexual distress; Practices and perspectives of sexuality and gender diverse people who use GHB.” International Journal of Drug Policy 108 (2022): 103811.


Sidorova, Ekaterina Zakarievna, et al. “Safety issues of the Russian educational system.” J. Advanced Res. L. & Econ. 11 (2020): 187.

Tembo, Nick Mdika. “Confronting Apartheid’s Revenants: Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” and/as Traumedy.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (2022): 1-21.

Stuck on Any Question

Our best expert will help you with the answer of your question with best explanation.