Born a Crime


Trevor Noah

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The predominant language among South African Afrikaners and colored communities, a version of Dutch brought by settler colonists that gradually evolved into a separate language over the course of centuries.

Afrikaans Quotes in Born a Crime

The Born a Crime quotes below are all either spoken by Afrikaans or refer to Afrikaans. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 9 Quotes

Colored people had it rough. Imagine: You've been brainwashed into believing that your blood is tainted. You've spent all your time assimilating and aspiring to whiteness. Then, just as you think you're closing in on the finish line, some fucking guy named Nelson Mandela comes along and flips the country on its head. Now the finish line is back where the starting line was, and the benchmark is black. Black is in charge. Black is beautiful. Black is powerful. For centuries colored people were told: Blacks are monkeys. Don't swing from the trees like them. Learn to walk upright like the white man. Then all of a sudden it's Planet of the Apes, and the monkeys have taken over.

Related Characters: Trevor Noah (speaker)
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Born a Crime LitChart as a printable PDF.
Born a Crime PDF

Afrikaans Term Timeline in Born a Crime

The timeline below shows where the term Afrikaans appears in Born a Crime. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...him Zulu (which is closely related to Xhosa), German (which she speaks with his father), Afrikaans (which she learned “because it is useful to know the language of your oppressor”), and... (full context)
Chapter 7
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon find the cats beheaded, tied to the family’s front gate, with a sign in Afrikaans: “Witch.” Trevor doesn’t much care—the cats were not particularly nice, anyway. (full context)
Chapter 9
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...speaking African languages), while others hate his whiteness (his English education and inability to speak Afrikaans, the predominant colored language). (full context)
Chapter 14
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Noah’s preface summarizes South Africa’s linguistic situation. There are eleven official languages, with English and Afrikaans included by default, as the languages of power and the white minority; Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana,... (full context)
Chapter 17
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...colored gangs are South Africa’s most violent, and he “played the stereotype,” speaking in accented Afrikaans and managing to get the rest of his cellmates to leave him alone. He soon... (full context)