For bringing me into this world and making me the man I am today, I owe the greatest debt, a debt I can never repay, to my mother.
Having listened to his voice a couple of times on The Daily Show, I read this book in Trevor Noah’s voice. Right from the first chapter, I was drawn into his world – one filled with excitement and good humor.
Trevor was born to a Xhosa mother and a Swiss father when inter-racial relationships in South Africa were a violation of the law. His strong-willed mother always went for what she wanted, and in this case, it was getting a child with a white man.
It was a dangerous time to be born and as a light-skinned child.
In so many ways, his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo, reminds me of African mothers and their strong devotion to going to church, and Christianity in general.
They would literally go for three services, one that offered jubilant praise of the Lord, the second that offered deep analysis of the scripture and the third that offered passion and catharsis. Each one had its own distinct racial makeup – mixed church, white church and black church.
His mother would always say, “I’m here to fill up on my blessings for the week.”
Right from an early age, Trevor knew that he and his mom were a team – it was just the two of them. Theirs is a typical mother-son relationship. She would run after him just to discipline him, and other times would use her wise words to teach him life lessons.
Everything his mother did, she did out of love for him. Once when he was arrested for having stolen a car from his stepfather’s car, his mother bailed him out and later told him:
“I know you see me as some crazy old bitch nagging at you (practically what many of our parents tell us), but you forget the reason I ride you so hard and give you so much shit is because I love you. Everything I have ever done I’ve done from a place of love…The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you. When they beat you, they’re trying to kill you.”
She tried her best to free Trevor’s mind and ensure his childhood bore no resemblance to hers. She wanted him to be free to go anywhere, do anything and be anyone.
When his mother got into an abusive relationship, Trevor too suffered the consequences, eventually prompting him to move out. After he moved, his stepfather shot his mother, something that shook Trevor to the core.
“People say all the time that they’d do anything for the people they love. But would you really? Would you do anything? Would you give everything? I don’t know that a child knows that kind of selfless love. A mother, yes. A mother will clutch her children and jump from a moving car to keep them from harm. She will do it without thinking. But I don’t think the child knows how to do that, not instinctively. It’s something the child has to learn,” he says in describing his thoughts while in hospital.
To date, his mother remains one of his biggest supporters.
Through it all, this book made me laugh a lot. The love between Trevor and his mother, and their resilience as a team is nothing short of inspiring.
If you want to laugh, cry and have all your emotions jumbled up, this is the book you should be reading.
Have you read this book? Share your favorite part in the comment section below.
Until next time, all my love