Born a Crime


Trevor Noah

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Mlungisi Character Analysis

Trevor’s protective, responsible older cousin who always follows the rules and helps Trevor get out of sticky situations (like when the other colored kids in Eden Park steal his bicycle, or when he gets arrested for driving one of Abel’s junk cars with false license plates). Trevor eventually moves in with Mlungisi during the early stages of his comedy career.

Mlungisi Quotes in Born a Crime

The Born a Crime quotes below are all either spoken by Mlungisi or refer to Mlungisi. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Born a Crime published in 2016.
Chapter 17 Quotes

“I know you see me as some crazy old bitch nagging at you,” she said, “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. If I don't punish you, the world will punish you even worse. 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.”

Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mlungisi Character Timeline in Born a Crime

The timeline below shows where the character Mlungisi appears in Born a Crime. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...girl “borrows” Trevor’s bicycle so that an older colored kid could steal it—luckily, Trevor’s cousin Mlungisi manages to find them and retrieve the bicycle. In fact, Trevor is “bullied all the... (full context)
Chapter 17
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Trevor gets called up for his hearing after only an hour, and his lawyer and Mlungisi are waiting. The judge asks “How are you?” and Trevor breaks down. The judge gets... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Trevor spends a night at Mlungisi’s place and then returns home, where his mother is silent. He tells her all sorts... (full context)
Chapter 18
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia eventually does leave, although Trevor is already deep into his career, living with Mlungisi, and out of touch with the family. She marries someone else and moves into another... (full context)