Unveiling humorous resistance: Incongruity and critical discourse analysis in "Born a crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”





apartheid, global south, humor, incongruity theory, memoir, South Africa, trauma


“Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” is a bestselling memoir that was written by Trevor Noah, a South African-born comedian of global acclaim. In the book, Noah relives his upbringing in South Africa, when apartheid policies and legislation were designed and harshly implemented to keep the country’s citizens apart based on race and ethnicity. Yet, in relieving this oppressive and traumatic period and proceeding to the 1994 democratic era, Noah applies humor as a storytelling strategy to downplay this harsh period. Hence, this paper adopts the incongruity theory to present the juxtaposition that is evident in the form of surprises and tensions in the narrative, which the readers may find humorous. In addition, the paper draws on Apartheid Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as theoretical frameworks to conduct this qualitative study. CDA is used as a research tool to indicate how a text authored by a comedian from the global south is used to humorously resist political and social power relations. It is found that Noah manages to criticize the segregation that was there in a subtle manner and to educate the audience through humor about socio-economic challenges in the country. Even though his writing is mainly in a language of the global north for possible economic reasons, he draws from the languages of the global south to correctly represent the culture of the South African people he is part of.


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How to Cite

Ngcobo, S., & Roya, W. (2023). Unveiling humorous resistance: Incongruity and critical discourse analysis in "Born a crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147- 4478), 12(6), 334–342. https://doi.org/10.20525/ijrbs.v12i6.2686



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