When Trevor and Patricia move to the suburban colored neighborhood of Eden Park, they get a rundown, secondhand Volkswagen Beetle that often fails to start (and forces them to take minibuses to church); nonetheless, the car symbolizes Trevor and Patricia’s growing freedom in the face of poverty, as it allows them to go wherever they want, a luxury that most black South African families do not have and that Trevor and Patricia fully enjoy. They go on picnics, spend time in nature, and visit white neighborhoods they would never otherwise see. The car is proof that Trevor and Patricia are beginning to overcome the poverty that used to constrain both of them, even if their efforts to maintain the Volkswagen show that they never fully escape poverty’s grasp. It represents both their means of escaping the townships and proof that they have escaped, unlike the rest of their family—even though Frances Noah’s house, like every other house in Soweto, has a driveway that ends up sitting empty (and Trevor sees as a sign of its people’s aspirations to economic advancement). However, the car is also how Patricia meets Abel: he fixes it up when it breaks and then, in an effort to deny Patricia the freedom to go to church, he refuses to fix it during their marriage, forcing her to rely on other forms of transportation just as he drags her back into the cycle of poverty and violence that she spent the first half of her life striving to escape.
The Secondhand Volkswagen Quotes in Born a Crime
There is something magical about Soweto. Yes, it was a prison designed by our oppressors, but it also gave us a sense of self-determination and control. Soweto was ours. It had an aspirational quality that you don't find elsewhere. In America the dream is to make it out of the ghetto. In Soweto, because there was no leaving the ghetto, the dream was to transform the ghetto.
For the million people who lived in Soweto, there were no stores, no bars, no restaurants. There were no paved roads, minimal electricity, inadequate sewerage. But when you put one million people together in one place, they find a way to make a life for themselves. A black-market economy rose up, with every type of business being run out of someone's house: auto mechanics, day cafe, guys selling refurbished tires.