Robert is Trevor’s biological father, a white man of Swiss and German descent who befriends Patricia as she pursues an illegal life in downtown Johannesburg. For both Patricia and eventually Trevor, Robert serves as an anchoring figure in spite of the turbulent and unforgiving world around them. He may be quiet and reserved, but his actions reveal that he deeply cares about his chosen family. The fact that Robert eventually agrees to help Patricia have a child in the first place, especially given that such a relationship was illegal under apartheid, speaks to his commitment to her above all else. He makes this choice knowing full well the consequences they will both face if caught, highlighting his disdain for South Africa’s emphasis on racial segregation. While Noah explicitly mentions Robert’s hatred for apartheid later in Chapter 8, his decision to commit a crime by fathering a mixed-race child reflects just how much he cares for Patricia and how little he cares about South Africa’s arbitrary legal codes. 

Beyond facilitating Patricia’s desire to become a mother, Robert continues to defy social norms by choosing to play a role in Trevor’s life, albeit from a distance. Patricia explains that she does not expect him to know his son, yet he willingly brings him into his life and does what he can to show his love. Through regular weekend visits during Trevor’s early years, Robert creates the sensation of a family despite the larger social forces which aim to keep them apart. He may not be legally bound to Patricia or officially recognized as Trevor’s father, but he continues to welcome his son into his home despite the illegality and social judgement of doing so. Robert even knows all of Trevor’s favorite things, so much so that he remembers them when they reconnect years later after a separation that Abel’s jealous behavior instigates. Despite their distance, they pick right back up as if no time has passed and Robert expresses his ongoing support for his son by showing him a photo album of “everything [Trevor] had ever done” in his professional career. This gesture reinforces the idea that he wants to keep Trevor in his life and cements his role as a figure of stability.