Born a Crime

by

Trevor Noah

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Sizwe Character Analysis

One of Trevor’s friends who, along with Tim, helps him resell pirated CDs. Sizwe is sharp, popular, and good-hearted: he “[brings] out the best in everybody.” He lives in Alexandra and convinces Trevor to start DJing, which makes them some of the most popular guys in the neighborhood. Trevor and Sizwe spend the year after high school hanging out in Alexandra, selling whatever they can get their hands on, and playing gigs around Johannesburg.

Sizwe Quotes in Born a Crime

The Born a Crime quotes below are all either spoken by Sizwe or refer to Sizwe. 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 15 Quotes

There is also this to consider: The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that's especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one Person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium's King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson.

Related Characters: Trevor Noah (speaker), Sizwe, Hitler
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

It's easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it. But the hood taught me that everyone has different notions of right and wrong, different definitions of what constitutes crime, and what level of crime they're willing to participate in.

Related Characters: Trevor Noah (speaker), Sizwe
Page Number: 212-213
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Born a Crime LitChart as a printable PDF.
Born a Crime PDF

Sizwe Character Timeline in Born a Crime

The timeline below shows where the character Sizwe appears in Born a Crime. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...has terrible taste but convinces his mom to pay for a new outfit. He enlists Sizwe, his other CD reseller, to give him a makeover. He buys one expensive leather jacket... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...around in circles. Finally, they arrive, but Babiki refuses to follow Trevor inside. Trevor finds Sizwe, who brings a crowd of 20 other boys out to gawk at Babiki “like she... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Sometime later, Sizwe tries one last time to bring Babiki inside and instead tells Trevor she definitely does... (full context)
Chapter 15
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...he starts listening to the CDs while he burns them; many are black American albums. Sizwe gives Trevor some ideas that prove quite successful, such as making a compilation album, or... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Sizwe soon recommends that Trevor start DJing. Sizwe lives in the dense, dangerous, and hard-partying shantytown... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Trevor and Sizwe decide to form a dance crew to teach people new moves mentioned in their music,... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
As the dance crew multiplies Trevor and Sizwe’s success, they begin playing more gigs in the suburbs, for wealthier black families but also... (full context)
Chapter 16
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Sizwe is “one of those people who brought out the best in everybody,” which makes him... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...is “East Bank, the newest, nicest part of the hood,” full of two-bedroom houses, where Sizwe lives and Trevor spends plenty of time hanging out and “shooting the shit.” (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...and everything is incredibly cheap—except cheese. Cheese is a particularly important sign of wealth, and Sizwe and his friends are “cheese boys,” to their chagrin. They would argue with people from... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
However, “cheese boys” like Sizwe and his crew are “in a uniquely fucked situation” because they have seen the outside... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...just selling the pirated CDs, which barely counts as crime at all in Alex. He, Sizwe, and their crew sell CDs to the minibus drivers and hang out in a converted... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...a young guy is trying to buy a DVD player from a crackhead for 120 rand—Sizwe gives the crackhead 50 and gets the young guy, who works at a shoe store,... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Every day, Trevor takes the bus into Alex with Sizwe and sets up shop at his house. They eat breakfast and take orders from bus... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Trevor, Sizwe, and the guys also use loans as an excuse to hang out around the women’s... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...“the township polices itself as well.” However, it also limits people’s ambition—one of Trevor and Sizwe’s friends gets a job at a clothing store, for which everyone teases him. He soon... (full context)
Chapter 17
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...an ad for a cell phone clearance sale in the suburbs and knows he and Sizwe can make a profit. So he steals one of Abel’s junk cars, as he has... (full context)