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Trevor Noah’s Mom: Meet Patricia Noah the Strong Woman Behind the World Famous Comedian

Learn about Patricia Noah, Trevor Noah's resilient mother, who stood by him through hardships, inspired his humor, and guided him to triumph over adversity. Explore their profound relationship in "Born a Crime."
by Robyn Kerkhof | Aug 17 2023

Born In A Divided Country: The Story Of Patricia Noah

Meet Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, 68, the extraordinary woman who stands as the backbone of Trevor Noah’s life. Born on September 24, 1964, Patricia hails from the Xhosa ethnic group in South Africa, bringing with her a rich cultural heritage that deeply influenced Trevor’s upbringing.

Her nurturing and resilient nature has been a guiding force in Trevor’s journey from a young boy born under apartheid’s shadow to a global comedy sensation. Throughout her life, Patricia Noah has taken on various roles with unwavering determination and dedication.

From being a secretary to a bookkeeper and even owning a shop, she displayed the resilience that would later be reflected in her son’s character. As a hardworking woman, Patricia exemplifies the values of perseverance and the pursuit of excellence, which have significantly impacted Trevor’s outlook on life and contributed to his success in the entertainment industry.

Patricia is still in Johannesburg, where she runs her businesses. She constantly communicates with her son Trevor, who lives in New York.

Domestic Abuse Nearly Ended In Tragedy  

In 2009 Patricia was shot by Trevor Noah’s stepfather Abel Shingange. The bullet went through the base of her head and exited with minimal injury to her nostril.

This horrific act of violence left Patricia with physical and emotional scars, but her indomitable spirit refused to be broken. Instead, she emerged as an inspiration to Trevor, becoming an integral part of his drive to succeed and make the world a better place through laughter.

A History Of Domestic Violence: Abel Shingange

The tragic incident was a harrowing result of domestic violence and Abel’s ongoing struggles with substance abuse. The tension within the household had been building, and that fateful day, a heated argument spiraled out of control, leading to an act of extreme violence that left Patricia with life-threatening injuries.

The aftermath of this horrific event cast a dark cloud over the family, causing immense emotional turmoil and trauma that would take time to heal. For Trevor, witnessing the aftermath of such a violent act was a deeply scarring experience that would shape his understanding of the destructive consequences of violence and its toll on individuals and families.

This life-altering event played a crucial role in molding Trevor’s perspective on social issues, including gender-based violence, domestic abuse, and the urgent need for a more compassionate and empathetic world. It further fueled his commitment to use his platform as a comedian and public figure to advocate for positive change and shed light on the importance of ending violence against women.

In “Born a Crime,” Trevor Noah bravely confronts this painful chapter of his life, offering readers a raw and honest account of the impact of violence on families and society as a whole. Through his candid storytelling, he sheds light on the importance of breaking the cycle of violence, fostering empathy and understanding, and working collectively towards a safer and more inclusive world for everyone.

Patricia Noah Lived To See Justice Served

The shocking act of violence perpetrated by Abel against Patricia had far-reaching consequences. Trevor paints a vivid and painful picture of the aftermath, as his mother fought for her life and he grappled with the traumatic experience of almost losing her.

It was a time marked by pain, fear, and resilience as the mother-son duo faced adversity head-on. Thankfully, justice was served. Abel Shingange was sentenced to three years of correctional supervision after pleading guilty to an attempted murder charge in August 2009.

Two years after the shooting, Abel was convicted of attempted murder. In 2012, he was sentenced to three years of correctional supervision. 

A Strong Bond Between Mother and Son

The bond between Trevor Noah and his mother, Patricia, is one of profound love, admiration, and mutual respect. Patricia’s nurturing spirit and her sense of humor played a pivotal role in shaping Trevor’s comedic talent and unique perspective on life.

Growing up in a racially divided South Africa, Trevor often turned to humor as a coping mechanism, and it was his mother who encouraged him to embrace this gift and share it with the world. Their close-knit relationship has not only laid the foundation for Trevor’s flourishing career but has also served as a source of strength in overcoming life’s challenges.

Raising a Child During Apartheid Called For a Firm Hand

Patricia’s strict parenting style can be understood through the lens of the challenging environment in which Trevor was raised. Growing up in apartheid-era South Africa meant facing numerous dangers and restrictions, and Patricia’s strictness was born out of a deep desire to protect Trevor from harm.

By instilling discipline and a strong moral compass, Patricia equipped her son to navigate the racial complexities and societal barriers that would come his way. Her strictness, though challenging at times, was ultimately an expression of her profound love and commitment to Trevor’s well-being and future success.

Patricia and Robert: Trevor Noah’s Inspiring Parents 

Trevor Noah’s parents, Patricia and Robert Noah, were a brave mixed-race couple during the oppressive apartheid regime. This union was illegal at the time, making Trevor’s birth a symbol of defiance against the discriminatory system.

While his father, Robert, played a more distant role in his life, Patricia took on the role of a single mother, navigating the complexities of raising a mixed-race child in a society marked by racial tensions. Her courage and determination in facing these adversities had a profound impact on Trevor’s understanding of racial inequality and his ability to use humor to address important social issues.

Due to the challenges that arose due to their interracial relationship during the tumultuous era of apartheid in South Africa, Trevor Noah’s parents, Patricia and Robert Noah, eventually went their separate ways. The oppressive laws of the time deemed their union illegal, reflecting the deeply ingrained racial tensions in society.

Despite this heartbreaking turn of events, Patricia Noah remained a constant and unwavering pillar of support in Trevor’s life. As a single mother, Patricia embraced her role with resilience and love, taking on the responsibility of raising Trevor amidst a racially divided and turbulent environment.

She shielded him from the harsh realities of apartheid while instilling in him the values of empathy, compassion, and perseverance. Patricia’s determination to provide the best life possible for Trevor was a testament to her profound commitment as a mother.

Patricia Noah’s influence on Trevor’s life has been nothing short of profound. Her unwavering love, strength, and guidance have played an instrumental role in shaping the comedic genius and empathetic individual he is today.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into Trevor Noah’s remarkable life and learn more about the remarkable woman behind his success, you can explore his inspiring autobiography, Born a Crime, available on Blinkist.

Embark on a captivating journey through Trevor’s life and enjoy a free 7-day trial on Blinkist to discover the transformative power of resilience and love in the face of adversity.

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