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[1 of 5] Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Part I, Chapters 1-3, by Trevor Noah (2019)

Author: Trevor Noah

“Part 1, Chapters 1 - 3.” Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah, Spiegel & Grau, 2019.

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IMMORALITY ACT, 1927

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To prohibit illicit carnal intercourse between Europeans and natives and other acts in relation thereto.

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BE IT ENACTED by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows:—

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  1. Any European male who has illicit carnal intercourse with a native female, and any native male who has illicit carnal intercourse with a European female…shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
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    Nov 19
    Keily M (Nov 19 2020 10:47AM) : I found this unfair their shouldn't be a crime.
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    Nov 19
    Jessica H (Nov 19 2020 10:51AM) : This was the law in our own country up to about 50 years ago.
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    Katerin L (Dec 17 2020 6:09PM) : theme response more

    he talks about the challenges of being born a mix child was like during apartheid in south Africa.

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    Dec 18
    Semaj W (Dec 18 2020 3:52PM) : I agree with this because he talks about how he has different treatment with his mother not knowing how to beat him and treat him. [Edited]
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    Aubrey W (Dec 17 2020 6:24PM) : You see that they treat the men and woman alike and not differently
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    Demetrius C (Dec 18 2020 3:57PM) : I agree with this, They give Men more years than a woman. On the context of gender roles, they seem to be more violent on men than woman.
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    Jada M (Dec 18 2020 10:07AM) : i agree, in other places men and women are treated way differently.
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    Adrian G (Dec 17 2020 7:34PM) : Compare and contrast [Edited] more

    I never knew that people of different race who had a child would be a law.Now we can loved who ever in any place.Trevor had to hide who were his parents.Now we can show who are our parents to anyone.

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    Dec 18
    Long H (Dec 18 2020 4:06PM) : Agreeing more

    Mate, I agree with you because I never knew that there a law about people of a different race who had a child would be a problem. So that why the other kids were scared of him.

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    Dec 18
    Aniyah M (Dec 18 2020 9:57AM) : i agree with when they treat man and women the same because in different places they dont
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  1. Any native female who permits any European male to have illicit carnal intercourse with her and any European female who permits any native male to have illicit carnal intercourse with her shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years….
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    Keily M (Nov 19 2020 10:50AM) : Now i see the rules goes for both way females and males but i still stick with that shouldn't matter.
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    Ijanay B (Dec 18 2020 11:01AM) : I agree more

    because it shouldn’t matter if the person is black or white it just matters that you love them. and mixed children should not be illegal at all.

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PART I

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The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.

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Keily M (Nov 19 2020 11:06AM) : I see this as a way of power.
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Nov 19
Jessica H (Nov 19 2020 5:12PM) : Divide and conquer more

If you make sure people are fighting each other, they are distracted from fighting you. That’s what segregation in the USA was about, too.

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Isaiah B (Dec 17 2020 4:34PM) : Theme Respones [Edited] more

Back then women couldn’t make there own decisions they would just stay in there houses all day and work from there.

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Do Abdur W (Dec 18 2020 4:00PM) : Gender roles more

This is true. Especially when they talk about Trevor’s mom and how she breaks that norm.

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Phillip C (Dec 17 2020 7:30PM) : race more

the africans are all put in racial groups

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Dec 17
Chisom U (Dec 17 2020 1:41PM) : Compare/contrast more

The meaning of apartheid is very similar to segregation in America. The text I highlighted summarizes the meaning of segregation and apartheid. The only difference to me is the different countries both these laws can be found in

At the time, black South Africans outnumbered white South Africans nearly five to one, yet we were divided into different tribes with different languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Sotho, Venda, Ndebele, Tsonga, Pedi, and more. Long before apartheid existed these tribal factions clashed and warred with one another. Then white rule used that animosity to divide and conquer. All nonwhites were systematically classified into various groups and subgroups. Then these groups were given differing levels of rights and privileges in order to keep them at odds.

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Katerin L (Dec 17 2020 6:06PM) : compare/contrast In the U.S we still this problem where whites are treated better then any other race. [Edited] more

In the U.S we still this problem where whites are treated better then any other race.

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Hope I (Dec 17 2020 6:14PM) : Compare and contrast more

There is still racial problems today. White were treated more equally and had higher rights than blacks.

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Nehiemiah C (Dec 17 2020 6:22PM) : compare and contrast more

I agree because black people don’t have a lot of right today in the USA and I feel that they don’t want to fix that problem.

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Semaj W (Dec 18 2020 9:53AM) : agree
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Aliya U (Dec 18 2020 4:57PM) : compare and contrast more

I agree black people are not treated right in the USA today

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Joan C (Oct 29 2020 10:50AM) : why were they divided in different tribes ?
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Jessica H (Oct 29 2020 4:00PM) : They were different cultural groups, with different languages and customs. [Edited] more

Kind of like Indian tribes here in the Americas.

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Jaden A (Dec 18 2020 5:04PM) : Why they are divided. more

They are all divided into different tribes to tell the difference between everyone. Every tribe is different in many ways. Like people have different types of culture with tribes.

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Amir w (Dec 17 2020 4:19PM) : Theme response more

This part of the text goes with race the best it showing how blacks and whites had to be divided

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Amir w (Dec 17 2020 4:22PM) : Compare/contrast more

When i look at the text it gives me slavery vibes because slaves out numbered the whites but since they didnt know what they could do. so they just divided the slaves up to different plantations

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Nehiemiah C (Dec 17 2020 6:04PM) : Comparison/contrast response: [Edited] more

they have different languages in the USA. the problem is now you have so many that it good to learn the different languages that they have.

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Kameron M (Dec 17 2020 7:45PM) : Compare & Contrast. more

This part of the text makes think slavery sort of. They divided the colored people up , even though they were out numbered. This also shows how blacks and white and even other blacks had to be divided.

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Oct 29
Dewry C (Oct 29 2020 11:15AM) : what does he do what his purpose his purpose he puts his head down and fights
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Nov 10
Dewry C (Nov 10 2020 10:53AM) : lears the rules in order to break them properly
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Kendall T (Dec 17 2020 4:22PM) : How Trevor Noah got through this life with people always fighting until one overcomes or until both are equal more

It´s crazy how before apartheid existed there were tribal factions clashing so Trevor Noah´s entire life was revolving around 2 groups fighting until one overcomes or until both are equal

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Aissata T (Dec 18 2020 3:59PM) : I agree more

I agree because people in Africa were already fighting and now they can’t do anything about what happened.

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Carmen B (Dec 18 2020 4:06PM) : I agree more

I agree too because it’s said how African people have are struggling and other people complain about little issues they have.

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Keily M (Dec 01 2020 10:28AM) : Opinion more

All whites always has feel superior than non-whites.

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Perhaps the starkest of these divisions was between South Africa’s two dominant groups, the Zulu and the Xhosa. The Zulu man is known as the warrior. He is proud. He puts his head down and fights. When the colonial armies invaded, the Zulu charged into battle with nothing but spears and shields against men with guns. The Zulu were slaughtered by the thousands, but they never stopped fighting. The Xhosa, on the other hand, pride themselves on being the thinkers. My mother is Xhosa. Nelson Mandela was Xhosa. The Xhosa waged a long war against the white man as well, but after experiencing the futility of battle against a better-armed foe, many Xhosa chiefs took a more nimble approach. “These white people are here whether we like it or not,” they said. “Let’s see what tools they possess that can be useful to us. Instead of being resistant to English, let’s learn English. We’ll understand what the white man is saying, and we can force him to negotiate with us.”

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Christian R (Oct 20 2020 5:20PM) : South African Dominants groups. more

What i think what these groups are is tribes which different people have different purposes. As an example the Zulu man is know as the warrior. What does he do what’s his purpose? His purpose he puts his head down and fights.

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Oct 21
Christian R (Oct 21 2020 4:43PM) : South africans coming to realization. [Edited] more

The South Africans realized that they had nothing but spears and shields against men with guns. So they realized that it would be better for them to learn the “white mans” language so the South Africans can force the “white mans” to negotiate with them.

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Jessica H (Oct 21 2020 10:50AM) : The Dalai Lama says, “learn the rules in order to break them properly”.
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Keily M (Dec 01 2020 4:38PM) : Summary more

The Zulu’s are warrior’s and the the Xhosa were more like thinkers and a line that stood out for me , that shows that were thinkers is…… " “These white people are here whether we like it or not,” they said. “Let’s see what tools they possess that can be useful to us. Instead of being resistant to English, let’s learn English. We’ll understand what the white man is saying, and we can force him to negotiate with us.”

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(Dec 01 2020 4:51PM) : Which are you more like -- a Zulu or a Xhosa?
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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:23AM) : These are the only groups I knew about for a long time; I didn’t know about the other cultural groups in South Africa until much later.
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Dewry C (Nov 10 2020 11:02AM) : instead of being resistant to English, let’s learn English
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Dewry C (Dec 10 2020 10:48AM) : connections [Edited] more

what he trying to say is that he dont like scary movie that they make in hollywood movie scenes / i feels the same way because i dont like scary movies

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The Zulu went to war with the white man. The Xhosa played chess with the white man. For a long time neither was particularly successful, and each blamed the other for a problem neither had created. Bitterness festered. For decades those feelings were held in check by a common enemy. Then apartheid fell, Mandela walked free, and black South Africa went to war with itself.

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1 RUN

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Sometimes in big Hollywood movies they’ll have these crazy chase scenes where somebody jumps or gets thrown from a moving car. The person hits the ground and rolls for a bit. Then they come to a stop and pop up and dust themselves off, like it was no big deal. Whenever I see that I think, That’s rubbish. Getting thrown out of a moving car hurts way worse than that.

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Dewry C (Nov 18 2020 10:33AM) : The white man was quite stern with the native.
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I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car. It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church. We never missed church. My mother was—and still is—a deeply religious woman. Very Christian. Like indigenous peoples around the world, black South Africans adopted the religion of our colonizers. By “adopt” I mean it was forced on us. The white man was quite stern with the native. “You need to pray to Jesus,” he said. “Jesus will save you.” To which the native replied, “Well, we do need to be saved—saved from you, but that’s beside the point. So let’s give this Jesus thing a shot.”

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Dec 1
Keily M (Dec 01 2020 4:52PM) : Opinion more

What kind of mother would throw her son to a moving car and specially if shes religious.

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Jessica H (Dec 01 2020 10:54AM) : Keep reading. It will make sense.
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Dec 17
Ryan S (Dec 17 2020 4:24PM) : I feel like this can have a big toll on you at a young age for this to happen.Trevor was thrown out a car at 9 years old but later on in the story in makes sense.
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Kendall T (Dec 17 2020 4:32PM) : I really labeled his mother as a bad person to later realize she saved his life, it doesn´t matter if, in the end, you wind up with a few bruises, as long as he is alive. more

I agree, when you don´t explain why he was thrown out of the car then it looks like his mother was a terrible person when she really saved his life.

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Ryan S (Dec 18 2020 3:58PM) : Mother more

I realize i should of went into more detail about his mom. But his mom later on in the story is showed to be a great mother with facts to back that up at times

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Jhamir B (Dec 18 2020 10:00AM) : I agree because the statement my mom threw me out of a bus is very misleading without the details
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Aniyah M (Dec 17 2020 4:41PM) : i can compare to this more

i can compare to this because the some movies. when the person gets thrown or jumps out the car they get right back up but actually in real life you it hurts. i once saw it happen and it the person didnt get right back up they needed help

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Katerin L (Dec 18 2020 4:59PM) : theme more

To me this shows how dangerous it is to be a mixed child and how much danger it brings to the family. Even worse being from a different tribe.

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Tyairra G (Dec 18 2020 5:08PM) : annotation more

I agree because Trevor did explain how it was dangerous for him and his family with him being mixed

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Jalen R (Dec 17 2020 1:20PM) : This should be considered as abuse. [Edited] more

This should be considered as abuse. He was only 9 years old. What makes it worst is they were acting like this was a normal thing that happened down there.

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Christian R (Oct 21 2020 5:09PM) : Natives had a god? [Edited] more

The white men wanted to introduce jesus into the natives but the natives never knew what this religion was about.

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Jessica H (Oct 29 2020 5:11PM) : Most pre-colonial cultural groups were POLYTHEISTIC more

Meaning that they had multiple gods and goddesses – of the air, the water, sun, moon, fire, etc.

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Jalen R (Dec 17 2020 7:25PM) : It didn't make sense more

Yeah it didn’t make sense how they wanted to introduce a whole new religion or just Jesus if they didn’t know anything about Him.

My whole family is religious, but where my mother was Team Jesus all the way, my grandmother balanced her Christian faith with the traditional Xhosa beliefs she’d grown up with, communicating with the spirits of our ancestors. For a long time I didn’t understand why so many black people had abandoned their indigenous faith for Christianity. But the more we went to church and the longer I sat in those pews the more I learned about how Christianity works: If you’re Native American and you pray to the wolves, you’re a savage. If you’re African and you pray to your ancestors, you’re a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that’s just common sense.

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Joan C (Nov 04 2020 10:46AM) : his family was very religious
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(Nov 12 2020 4:49PM) : Right, and how do you feel about that? Is that similar to your family? What impact do you think this has on Trevor's character as a person?
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Keily M (Dec 01 2020 5:11PM) : Opinion more

I feel like is a good thing that his family were religious and took him to church because he has learn multiple things.

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Dewry C (Nov 09 2020 11:00AM) : he chased his father around the playground
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Samiyah C (Dec 17 2020 7:35PM) : Comparison/contrast response more

This reminds me of the united states because even if people do have the same religion, some people go about it differently according to their lifestyle, or whatever they like personally. For example, if somebody’s christian, they might be really strict when it comes to smoking and drinking. However, when it might come to somebody else they might be more lenient when it comes to it.

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Dewry C (Dec 21 2020 4:46PM) : summary more

he say that black people abandoned their indigenous faith for Christianity.

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Dewry C (Nov 09 2020 11:03AM) : his family was very religious and faith for christianity
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My childhood involved church, or some form of church, at least four nights a week. Tuesday night was the prayer meeting. Wednesday night was Bible study. Thursday night was Youth church. Friday and Saturday we had off. (Time to sin!) Then on Sunday we went to church. Three churches, to be precise. The reason we went to three churches was because my mom said each church gave her something different. The first church offered jubilant praise of the Lord. The second church offered deep analysis of the scripture, which my mom loved. The third church offered passion and catharsis; it was a place where you truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit inside you. Completely by coincidence, as we moved back and forth

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Jordan K (Dec 17 2020 4:05PM) : Reader Response [Edited] more

I cannot go to church at least four times a week. My limit is two days. I can go on Wednesday for bible study and Sunday for the service.

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Oct 29
Christian R (Oct 29 2020 11:18PM) : Punctuality more

their family was very religious and attended church consistently which many people doesn’t do.

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Jada M (Dec 17 2020 4:42PM) : his family is very religious and he persistently attended church during his childhood. [Edited]
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Phillip C (Dec 17 2020 7:38PM) : church more

kids had to be really involved in church

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Keily M (Dec 01 2020 11:21AM) : opinion more

i found this very funny and clever of him :)

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Nehiemiah C (Dec 17 2020 12:10PM) : Theme response religion, [Edited] more

they went to church because of your fate in God like how people go to church now. it show that religion is in any part of the world.

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Dec 17
Jada M (Dec 17 2020 11:15AM) : they attended multiple churches which shows how interested they are into their religion. [Edited]
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DaShaun H (Dec 17 2020 10:18AM) : I feel the same way how different churches have a different feeling to them.
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Dec 17
Demetrius C (Dec 17 2020 4:22PM) : Trevor's mom is so interested in a religion that she went to multiple churches instead of one. It is interesting to me because my grandma seemed to always be with god. [Edited] Tags: compare & contrast
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Dec 17
Ijanay B (Dec 17 2020 6:10PM) : compare and contrast more

when Trevor said he goes to three different churches I understood that. my mom tries to go to different churches and tries to listen to different preachers preach because she says they all say different things. she says they all have different meanings and preach different things.

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Dec 21
Dewry C (Dec 21 2020 4:53PM) : connection more

when Trevor said he goes to three different churches I understood that.

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between these churches, I noticed that each one had its own distinct racial makeup: Jubilant church was mixed church. Analytical church was white church. And passionate, cathartic church, that was black church.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:30AM) : Religion and culture are so closely intertwined.
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Mixed church was Rhema Bible Church. Rhema was one of those huge, supermodern, suburban megachurches. The pastor, Ray McCauley, was an ex-bodybuilder with a big smile and the personality of a cheerleader. Pastor Ray had competed in the 1974 Mr. Universe competition. He placed third. The winner that year was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Every week, Ray would be up onstage working really hard to make Jesus cool. There was arena-style seating and a rock band jamming out with the latest Christian contemporary pop. Everyone sang along, and if you didn’t know the words that was okay because they were all right up there on the Jumbotron for you. It was Christian karaoke, basically. I always had a blast at mixed church.

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Dewry C (Nov 18 2020 10:35AM) : he say that In Sunday school we got to read cool stories.
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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 10:38AM) : wow he placed third this dude was a big deal!! [Edited]
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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 10:40AM) : i love that he is trying to make jesus look good to people who doesn't acknowledge it. [Edited]
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White church was Rosebank Union in Sandton, a very white and wealthy part of Johannesburg. I loved white church because I didn’t actually have to go to the main service. My mom would go to that, and I would go to the youth side, to Sunday school. In Sunday school we got to read cool stories. Noah and the flood was obviously a favorite; I had a personal stake there. But I also loved the stories about Moses parting the Red Sea, David slaying Goliath, Jesus whipping the money changers in the temple.

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Dec 17
Nasira C (Dec 17 2020 4:14PM) : Compare/contrast [Edited] more

I don’t go to church every week like they do. I only go to church like a couple times a month. But this year I haven’t been going at all.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:33AM) : This was the best part of Sunday school for me, too. I wish everyone had to learn Bible stories because they are actually folklore, and you need to know them to understand other literature. [Edited] more

You don’t have to ascribe to or believe in Catholicism or Christianity to appreciate the stories.

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Nov 18
Dewry C (Nov 18 2020 10:44AM) : some Sundays we’d double back to white church for a special evening service.
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I’m the Tech Liaison for the New York City Writing Project. I… (more)

Nov 18
Paul A

I’m the Tech Liaison for the New York City Writing Project. I… (more)

(Nov 18 2020 11:02AM) : Why did you pick this to notice? What's interesting or important about this for you?

I grew up in a home with very little exposure to popular culture. Boyz II Men were not allowed in my mother’s house. Songs about some guy grinding on a girl all night long? No, no, no. That was forbidden. I’d hear the other kids at school singing “End of the Road,” and I’d have no clue what was going on. I knew of these Boyz II Men, but I didn’t really know who they were. The only music I knew was from church: soaring, uplifting songs praising Jesus. It was the same with movies. My mom didn’t want my mind polluted by movies with sex and violence. So the Bible was my action movie. Samson was my superhero. He was my He-Man. A guy beating a thousand people to death with the jawbone of a donkey? That’s pretty badass. Eventually you get to Paul writing letters to the Ephesians and it loses the plot, but the Old Testament and the Gospels? I could quote you anything from those pages, chapter and verse. There were Bible games and quizzes every week at white church, and I kicked everyone’s ass.

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Nov 4
Brendaly N (Nov 04 2020 10:41AM) : It seems like his life revolved around Jesus
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Dec 17
Santee S (Dec 17 2020 6:24PM) : Theme response-Religion more

Trevor’s mom is a very into religion, she doesn’t make Trevor listen to any violent music because she doesn’t want it to change him. This basically go on through the whole text she blame thinks on religion if something doesn’t go as plan she say god wanted it to happen. She likes bringing him church yo show him religion is a great part of life.

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Dec 17
Katerin L (Dec 17 2020 6:24PM) : reader response more

i relate to this because i was also raised in a christian family.

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Dec 17
Ijanay B (Dec 17 2020 6:14PM) : readers response more

for me, this is totally different. I grew up listening to RnB and hip hop music. I think that is the reason why I like listening to music because I grew up to it.

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Dec 18
Hope I (Dec 18 2020 5:03PM) : I agree with this more

I agree with this because I also grew up listening to R&B. My mom didn’t like me listening to songs unless I knew the meaning, so I can relate to what Ijanay is saying.

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Dec 17
Phillip C (Dec 17 2020 7:49PM) : wealth more

it was hard for them to get money

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Jan 11
Dewry C (Jan 11 2021 10:47AM) : summary more

i agree with this because he talk about how they treat the men and women alike and not differently

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Dec 21
Dewry C (Dec 21 2020 10:55AM) : summary more
This formed Trevor’s mind to make church movies, music, and books his everything.
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Dec 21
Jessica H (Dec 21 2020 11:03AM) : Good connection!
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Dec 10
Dewry C (Dec 10 2020 11:19AM) : summary more

“Black church” were struggling because it wasn’t like the “White Church” where they have a good budget. Interesting"

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Then there was black church. There was always some kind of black church service going on somewhere, and we tried them all. In the township, that typically meant an outdoor, tent-revival-style church. We usually went to my grandmother’s church, an old-school Methodist congregation, five hundred African grannies in blue-and-white blouses, clutching their Bibles and patiently burning in the hot African sun. Black church was rough, I won’t lie. No air-conditioning. No lyrics up on Jumbotrons. And it lasted forever, three or four hours at least, which confused me because white church was only like an hour—in and out, thanks for coming. But at black church I would sit there for what felt like an eternity, trying to figure out why time moved so slowly. Is it possible for time to actually stop? If so, why does it stop at black church and not at white church? I eventually decided black people needed more time with Jesus because we suffered more. “I’m here to fill up on my blessings for the week,” my mother used to say. The more time we spent at church, she reckoned, the more blessings we accrued, like a Starbucks Rewards Card.

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Dec 18
Kendall T (Dec 18 2020 3:56PM) : Trevor's mother tried to make church Trevor's everything more

Trevor’s mother only wanted Trevor to listen to church music. Trevor looked at Boyz ll Men as if all the music they wrote was about grinding on girls and very inappropriate. This formed Trevor’s mind to make church movies, music, and books his everything.

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Dec 18
Jamere B (Dec 18 2020 4:07PM) : His mother wanted shape his life with religion more

I agree it seemed as though she wanted to use Christianity to shape his life.

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Dec 18
Carmen B (Dec 18 2020 3:58PM) : Compare/Contrast more

I have similar experiences now like this with church. My uncle is the pastor of the church I go to and he plans to leave early every time. But if you say something to spark an idea or give him a red bull we’ll be there all day.

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Dec 17
Tiylor S (Dec 17 2020 1:52PM) : Church more

This shows that they did not have much . And they had to work with what they had . But they were still greatful .

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Dec 17
Nasira C (Dec 17 2020 10:21AM) : Reader response [Edited] more

I like how they talk about their religion. And that they go to their grandmother’s church. This shows how close Trevor and his grandma is.

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Jan 11
Dewry C (Jan 11 2021 11:00AM) : summary more
I agree that just because he was mixed it made it hard for him to fit in
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Dec 18
Jhamir B (Dec 18 2020 10:02AM) : Theme Response more

This shows how budgeted “Black church” was compared to “White Church”

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Dec 18
Christian T (Dec 18 2020 10:06AM) : i agree the church seems like it dosent get many donations
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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 10:52AM) : "Black church" were struggling because it wasn't like the "White Church" where they have a good budget. Interesting
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Dec 18
Christian T (Dec 18 2020 10:07AM) : I agree the white church gets more donations than the black church
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Black church had one saving grace. If I could make it to the third or fourth hour I’d get to watch the pastor cast demons out of people. People possessed by demons would start running up and down the aisles like madmen, screaming in tongues. The ushers would tackle them, like bouncers at a club, and hold them down for the pastor. The pastor would grab their heads and violently shake them back and forth, shouting, “I cast out this spirit in the name of Jesus!” Some pastors were more violent than others, but what they all had in common was that they wouldn’t stop until the demon was gone and the congregant had gone limp and collapsed on the stage. The person had to fall. Because if he didn’t fall that meant the demon was powerful and the pastor needed to come at him even harder. You could be a linebacker in the NFL. Didn’t matter. That pastor was taking you down. Good Lord, that was fun.

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Dec 1
Jessica H (Dec 01 2020 5:24PM) : Speculation more

I hope there were no concussions inflicted in the name of Jesus…

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Dec 9
Dewry C (Dec 09 2020 10:53AM) : the daughter is saying that god put that obstacle there so they would stay home. [Edited] more
i think he put that because they was going out to much he just was trying to protect them
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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 10:56AM) : it must be really hard witnessing something like this happen in front of you.
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Dec 17
Isaiah B (Dec 17 2020 4:37PM) : Them response more

Trevor Noah didn’t really fit in with anybody like his mom. He was different from everybody else because if your skin

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Dec 18
Meira J (Dec 18 2020 11:05AM) : I agree that just because he was mixed it made it hard for him to fit in.
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Christian karaoke, badass action stories, and violent faith healers—man, I loved church. The thing I didn’t love was the lengths we had to go to in order to get to church. It was an epic slog. We lived in Eden Park, a tiny suburb way outside Johannesburg. It took us an hour to get to white church, another forty-five minutes to get to mixed church, and another forty-five minutes to drive out to Soweto for black church. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, some Sundays we’d double back to white church for a special evening service. By the time we finally got home at night, I’d collapse into bed.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:41AM) : What a workout. But it certainly built his character!
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This particular Sunday, the Sunday I was hurled from a moving car, started out like any other Sunday. My mother woke me up, made me porridge for breakfast. I took my bath while she dressed my baby brother Andrew, who was nine months old. Then we went out to the driveway, but once we were finally all strapped in and ready to go, the car wouldn’t start. My mom had this ancient, broken-down, bright-tangerine Volkswagen Beetle that she picked up for next to nothing. The reason she got it for next to nothing was because it was always breaking down. To this day I hate secondhand cars. Almost everything that’s ever gone wrong in my life I can trace back to a secondhand car. Secondhand cars made me get detention for being late for school. Secondhand cars left us hitchhiking on the side of the freeway. A secondhand car was also the reason my mom got married. If it hadn’t been for the Volkswagen that didn’t work, we never would have looked for the mechanic who became the husband who became the stepfather who became the man who tortured us for years and put a bullet in the back of my mother’s head—I’ll take the new car with the warranty every time.

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Nov 4
Brendaly N (Nov 04 2020 4:48PM) : Wow I wasn’t expecting that last part , where he explains how his step father caused them so much pain and killed their mom
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Nov 4
Jessica H (Nov 04 2020 5:01PM) : You would think a bullet in the back of her head would kill her, but it didn't. more

I know, unbelievable! But it’s true. Sorry for the spoiler, but she survived that.

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Dec 15
Dewry C (Dec 15 2020 11:08AM) : summary more

That carless Sunday we made our circuit of churches, ending up, as usual, at white church.

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Jan 12
Dewry C (Jan 12 2021 10:47AM) : summary more

saying that secondhand car was a sin

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I’m the Tech Liaison for the New York City Writing Project. I… (more)

Jan 12
Paul A

I’m the Tech Liaison for the New York City Writing Project. I… (more)

(Jan 12 2021 10:55AM) : I'm not sure what you are referring to here. Can you explain more?
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Nov 12
Joan C (Nov 12 2020 10:34AM) : they felt so much pain
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Jan 13
Dewry C (Jan 13 2021 10:56AM) : connection more

he says that he always be late to school.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:42AM) : Sheesh.
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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 5:03PM) : so in here she is basically saying that secondhand car was a sin!
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Nov 3
Jessica H (Nov 03 2020 11:05AM) : Not so much a sin as a bad luck omen...

As much as I loved church, the idea of a nine-hour slog, from mixed church to white church to black church then doubling back to white church again, was just too much to contemplate. It was bad enough in a car, but taking public transport would be twice as long and twice as hard. When the Volkswagen refused to start, inside my head I was praying, Please say we’ll just stay home. Please say we’ll just stay home. Then I glanced over to see the determined look on my mother’s face, her jaw set, and I knew I had a long day ahead of me.

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“Come,” she said. “We’re going to catch minibuses.”

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Dec 17
Do Abdur W (Dec 17 2020 10:38AM) : Foreshadowing and upcoming problems. more

Already, with the paragraph only being one sentence long I get the feeling that this next phase will not end well. That and the multiple times Trevor Noah has mentioned being thrown out a moving car.

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My mother is as stubborn as she is religious. Once her mind’s made up, that’s it. Indeed, obstacles that would normally lead a person to change their plans, like a car breaking down, only made her more determined to forge ahead.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:44AM) : He’s still talking about his mother in the present tense....did she survive a bullet to the head???
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“It’s the Devil,” she said about the stalled car. “The Devil doesn’t want us to go to church. That’s why we’ve got to catch minibuses.”

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Dec 17
Long H (Dec 17 2020 10:43AM) : race and religion more

I still don’t know what he means when The Devil doesn’t want us to go to church. But I do know that he is trying to say that the devil is the white person that doesn’t want the black people to go to church but they want them to just their own religion.

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Whenever I found myself up against my mother’s faith-based obstinacy, I would try, as respectfully as possible, to counter with an opposing point of view.

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“Or,” I said, “the Lord knows that today we shouldn’t go to church, which is why he made sure the car wouldn’t start, so that we stay at home as a family and take a day of rest, because even the Lord rested.”

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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 5:09PM) : so they both have different pov's, the mom thinks is the devil trying to stop her from going to church & the daughter is saying that god put that obstacle there so they would stay home.
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Dec 14
Dewry C (Dec 14 2020 5:10PM) : summary more
so they both have different pov’s, the mom thinks is the devil trying to stop her from going to church & the daughter is saying that god put that obstacle there so they would stay home.
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Dec 17
Katherine C (Dec 17 2020 4:22PM) : Theme response. more

We can see that Religion has a lot to do with how life went for Trevor. Whatever has happened good or bad it was good decision. To his mother. He thought it just happens. Trevor would try to change his mother thoughts on their religion but she wouldn’t agree.

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“Ah, that’s the Devil talking, Trevor.”

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“No, because Jesus is in control, and if Jesus is in control and we pray to Jesus, he would let the car start, but he hasn’t, therefore—”

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“No, Trevor! Sometimes Jesus puts obstacles in your way to see if you overcome them. Like Job. This could be a test.”

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Dec 17
DaShaun H (Dec 17 2020 10:39AM) : the story of Job is about a man who had everything and still praised the lord but satan asked god to test his loyalty so he killed his wife and children took away basically everything he got to see if he would still praise the lord.
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“Ah! Yes, Mom. But the test could be to see if we’re willing to accept what has happened and stay at home and praise Jesus for his wisdom.”

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“No. That’s the Devil talking. Now go change your clothes.” “But, Mom!”

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“Trevor! Sun’qhela!

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 10:46AM) : This sounds close in meaning to “Ya estuvo!” In Mexico, which translates literally to “it already was!” Or, we’ve been done with this topic, so stop it now.

Sun’qhela is a phrase with many shades of meaning. It says “don’t undermine me,” “don’t underestimate me,” and “just try me.” It’s a command and a threat, all at once. It’s a common thing for Xhosa parents to say to their kids. Any time I heard it I knew it meant the conversation was over, and if I uttered another word I was in for a hiding—what we call a spanking.

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At the time, I attended a private Catholic school called Maryvale College. I was the champion of the Maryvale sports day every single year, and my mother won the moms’ trophy every single year. Why? Because she was always chasing me to kick my ass, and I was always running not to get my ass kicked. Nobody ran like me and my mom. She wasn’t one of those “Come over here and get your

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Jan 13
Dewry C (Jan 13 2021 11:01AM) : connection more

he says that his mom running at him because she was going to kick his ass because he did sometime bad

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Nov 3
Christian R (Nov 03 2020 11:11AM) : her mom was insanely supportive to him. [Edited]
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hiding” type moms. She’d deliver it to you free of charge. She was a thrower, too. Whatever was next to her was coming at you. If it was something breakable, I had to catch it and put it down. If it broke, that would be my fault, too, and the ass-kicking would be that much worse. If she threw a vase at me, I’d have to catch it, put it down, and then run. In a split second, I’d have to think, Is it valuable? Yes. Is it breakable? Yes. Catch it, put it down, now run.

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We had a very Tom and Jerry relationship, me and my mom. She was the strict disciplinarian; I was naughty as shit. She would send me out to buy groceries, and I wouldn’t come right home because I’d be using the change from the milk and bread to play arcade games at the supermarket. I loved videogames. I was a master at Street Fighter. I could go forever on a single play. I’d drop a coin in, time would fly, and the next thing I knew there’d be a woman behind me with a belt. It was a race. I’d take off out the door and through the dusty streets of Eden Park, clambering over walls, ducking through backyards. It was a normal thing in our neighborhood. Everybody knew: That Trevor child would come through like a bat out of hell, and his mom would be right there behind him. She could go at a full sprint in high heels, but if she really wanted to come after me she had this thing where she’d kick her shoes off while still going at top speed. She’d do this weird move with her ankles and the heels would go flying and she wouldn’t even miss a step. That’s when I knew, Okay, she’s in turbo mode now.

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Nov 23
Dewry C (Nov 23 2020 11:00AM) : he says that,She would send me out to buy groceries, and I wouldn’t come right home because I’d be using the change from the milk and bread to play arcade games at the supermarket.
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Nov 13
Dewry C (Nov 13 2020 9:43AM) : That Trevor child would come through like a bat out of hell, and his mom would be right there behind him.
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Nov 13
Dewry C (Nov 13 2020 9:45AM) : I was a master at Street Fighter
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When I was little she always caught me, but as I got older I got faster, and when speed failed her she’d use her wits. If I was about to get away she’d yell, “Stop! Thief!” She’d do this to her own child. In South Africa, nobody gets involved in other people’s business—unless it’s mob justice, and then everybody wants in. So she’d yell “Thief!” knowing it would bring the whole neighborhood out against me, and then I’d have strangers trying to grab me and tackle me, and I’d have to duck and dive and dodge them as well, all the while screaming, “I’m not a thief! I’m her son!”

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Nov 23
Dewry C (Nov 23 2020 11:19AM) : he is trying to explain that he was sorry for upset her
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The last thing I wanted to do that Sunday morning was climb into some crowded minibus, but the second I heard my mom say sun’qhela I knew my fate was sealed. She gathered up Andrew and we climbed out of the Volkswagen and went out to try to catch a ride.

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I was five years old, nearly six, when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I remember seeing it on TV and everyone being happy. I didn’t know why we were happy, just that we were. I was aware of the fact that there was a thing called apartheid and it was ending and that was a big deal, but I didn’t understand the intricacies of it.

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What I do remember, what I will never forget, is the violence that followed. The triumph of democracy over apartheid is sometimes called the Bloodless Revolution. It is called that because very little white blood was spilled. Black blood ran in the streets.

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As the apartheid regime fell, we knew that the black man was now going to rule. The question was, which black man? Spates of violence broke out between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC, the African National Congress, as they jockeyed for power. The political dynamic between these two groups was very complicated, but the simplest way to understand it is as a proxy war between Zulu and Xhosa. The Inkatha was predominantly Zulu, very militant and very nationalistic. The ANC was a broad coalition encompassing many different tribes, but its leaders at the time were primarily Xhosa. Instead of uniting for peace they turned on one another, committing acts of unbelievable savagery. Massive riots broke out. Thousands of people were killed. Necklacing was common. That’s where people would hold someone down and put a rubber tire over his torso, pinning his arms. Then they’d douse him with petrol and set him on fire and burn him alive. The ANC did it to Inkatha. Inkatha did it to the ANC. I saw one of those charred bodies on the side of the road one day on my way to school. In the evenings my mom and I would turn on our little black-and-white TV and watch the news. A dozen people killed. Fifty people killed. A hundred people killed.

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Dec 17
Tyshawn M (Dec 17 2020 4:29PM) : reader response to race more

In the paragraph the apartheid fell and the people wanted a leader of their own race to speak for them. b Maybe having a white leader didn’t sit well with them because of what they’ve been through in the past.

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Eden Park sat not far from the sprawling townships of the East Rand, Thokoza and Katlehong, which were the sites of some of the most horrific Inkatha–ANC clashes. Once a month at least we’d drive home and the neighborhood would be on fire. Hundreds of rioters in the street. My mom would edge the car slowly through the crowds and around blockades made of flaming tires. Nothing burns like a tire—it rages with a fury you can’t imagine. As we drove past the burning blockades, it felt like we were inside an oven. I used to say to my mom, “I think Satan burns tires in Hell.”

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Whenever the riots broke out, all our neighbors would wisely hole up behind closed doors. But not my mom. She’d head straight out, and as we’d inch our way past the blockades, she’d give the rioters this look. Let me pass. I’m not involved in this shit. She was unwavering in the face of danger. That always amazed me. It didn’t matter that there was a war on our doorstep. She had things to do, places to be. It was the same stubbornness that kept her going to church despite a broken-down car. There could be five hundred rioters with a blockade of burning tires on the main road out of Eden Park, and my mother would say, “Get dressed. I’ve got to go to work. You’ve got to go to school.”

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Dec 17
Tyshawn M (Dec 17 2020 4:33PM) : compare and contrast [Edited] more

This paragraph has a lot alike whats going on today with the riots and protest because of deaths caused by police brutality. But in the one it seems that people don’t want to be involved with any of it. this shows how people might have been afraid to speak up.

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“But aren’t you afraid?” I’d say. “There’s only one of you and there’s so many of them.”

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“Honey, I’m not alone,” she’d say. “I’ve got all of Heaven’s angels behind me.”

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“Well, it would be nice if we could see them,” I’d say. “Because I don’t think the rioters know they’re there.”

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She’d tell me not to worry. She always came back to the phrase she lived by: “If God is with me, who can be against me?” She was never scared. Even when she should have been.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 11:33AM) : That was definitely her coping mechanism.
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Dec 14
Dewry C (Dec 14 2020 11:19AM) : connected more

This is why God wanted us to stay home. for example like covid-19 we need to stay home to be safe.

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Dec 17
Jhamir B (Dec 17 2020 10:40AM) : Theme Response more

The theme in this statement is how Apartheid manipulated the people of South Africa. Apartheid manipulated the South Africans by separating them and then gradually letting them hate on another in a proxy war.

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That carless Sunday we made our circuit of churches, ending up, as usual, at white church. When we walked out of Rosebank Union it was dark and we were alone. It had been an endless day of minibuses from mixed church to black church to white church, and I was exhausted. It was nine o’clock at least. In those days, with all the violence and riots going on, you did not want to be out that late at night. We were standing at the corner of Jellicoe Avenue and Oxford Road, right in the heart of Johannesburg’s wealthy, white suburbia, and there were no minibuses. The streets were empty.

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I so badly wanted to turn to my mom and say, “You see? This is why God wanted us to stay home.” But one look at the expression on her face, and I knew better than to speak. There were times I could talk smack to my mom—this was not one of them.

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Oct 14
Jessica H (Oct 14 2020 11:35AM) : Smart boy.

We waited and waited for a minibus to come by. Under apartheid the government provided no public transportation for blacks, but white people still needed us to show up to mop their floors and clean their bathrooms. Necessity being the mother of invention, black people created their own transit system, an informal network of bus routes, controlled by private associations operating entirely outside the law. Because the minibus business was completely unregulated, it was basically organized crime. Different groups ran different routes, and they would fight over who controlled what. There was bribery and general shadiness that went on, a great deal of violence, and a lot of protection money paid to avoid violence. The one thing you didn’t do was steal a route from a rival group. Drivers who stole routes would get killed. Being unregulated, minibuses were also very unreliable. When they came, they came. When they didn’t, they didn’t.

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Dec 9
Dewry C (Dec 09 2020 11:22AM) : summary more
black people created their own transit system, an informal network of bus routes, controlled by private associations operating entirely outside the law.
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Standing outside Rosebank Union, I was literally falling asleep on my feet. Not a minibus in sight. Eventually my mother said, “Let’s hitchhike.” We walked and walked, and after what felt like an eternity, a car drove up and stopped. The driver offered us a ride, and we climbed in. We hadn’t gone ten feet when suddenly a minibus swerved right in front of the car and cut us off.

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A Zulu driver got out with an iwisa, a large, traditional Zulu weapon—a war club, basically. They’re used to smash people’s skulls in. Another guy, his crony, got out of the passenger side. They walked up to the driver’s side of the car we were in, grabbed the man who’d offered us a ride, pulled him out, and started shoving their clubs in his face. “Why are you stealing our customers? Why are you picking people up?”

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It looked like they were going to kill this guy. I knew that happened sometimes. My mom spoke up. “Hey, listen, he was just helping me. Leave him. We’ll ride with you. That’s what we wanted in the first place.” So we got out of the first car and climbed into the minibus.

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