Patricia Noah is the mother of Trevor Noah, an award-winning comedian who became the first man of African descent to host The Daily Show. Trevor Noah’s mother is a businesswoman and real estate realtor of Xhosa heritage, one of the largest ethnic groups in South Africa.
Having a strong and resilient character, Patricia defied all odds to raise a colored child in the apartheid era when it was a heinous crime. Eventually, her sacrifices to raise her son, Trevor Noah, paid off, as he now ranks as one of the world’s most popular stand-up comedians. Patricia, on the other hand, is also financially well off. She serves as the director of many companies, including PN Estates cc and Dempa Investments cc.
How Old is Patricia Noah?
Patricia Noah’s age is unknown. However, she is said to be born and bred in South Africa. With Patricia reported to be fifty years old when she was shot in 2009, she is likely to be born in 1958 or 1959. As of this writing, Trevor Noah‘s mom is reportedly a sexagenarian.
Trevor Noah’s Mother Had a Rough Upbringing
Patricia Noah was born to parents Temperance and Nomalizo Frances Noah. She is of the Xhosa tribe, and her Xhosa name, Nombuyiselo, means “She who gives back”. As Patricia’s parents were separated, she shared her upbringing with both parents at different stages of her life. While growing up, she was a troublesome child; rebellious and stubborn.
At the age of nine, she requested to live with her father, and her mother heed to her request, but instead of her father taking her in, he sent her to live with his sister in the Xhosa homeland, Transkei. There, she lived with fourteen cousins in a hut, all from different parents. And there was not enough food for them, however, when they did have food, they had to fight for it.
Also, there was no water or electricity in the area. Money was scarce in Transkei, and most families survived by low-level farming. As such, Patricia Noah worked in the fields to have something to eat. In spite of that, there was barely enough food for all the children in her aunt’s house to eat.
Sometimes, she would feed on dirt in order to feel something in her stomach. She later began working in a factory nearby when she was old enough in compensation for a meal. Eventually, Trevor’s mom reunited with her family after 12 years of living in Transkei with her aunt.
Patricia Noah’s Educational Background
In Transkei, Patricia Noah attended a missionary school where she learned how to read and write in English. When her aunt became ill, she went back to Soweto and enrolled in a secretarial school there. During apartheid, there were few jobs available for black people.
And Patricia did not fancy the idea of women working as domestic workers or laborers in factories. Thus, she decided to enroll in a typing course. And all the skills she acquired at the time changed her life eventually.
Patricia’s White Collar Job and Struggles to Live in a Forbidden City
While in Soweto, Trevor Noah’s mother knew that she wouldn’t make it in the city despite how hard she tried. Though she had typing skills, skilled jobs or executive positions during the apartheid were reserved only for whites. Hence her efforts seem futile. Fortunately, the apartheid government relaxed some restrictions on labor in the 1980s.
And this gave birth to ‘diversity hires’ as white business owners could hire a black person in clerical positions. Patricia Noah then bagged secretarial work in a large pharmaceutical company in a suburb of Johannesburg where rich white people resided. Though it was forbidden for blacks to live in the City of Gold at the time, Patricia relocated to Johannesburg when she was 22.
Upon her arrival, she slept in public restrooms before meeting with a few Xhosa prostitutes who taught her how to live in the city. To walk around freely in Johannesburg, the women helped disguised her as a maid. However, black maids were forced to carry documentation validating their labor status during such times. And as Patricia had no documentation that gave her the right to move around the city, she was often caught and arrested.
Nonetheless, she had money to pay fines anytime she got arrested. She continued doing the same thing and went to jail many times after getting caught. With the help of the Xhosa prostitutes, she met white men who were willing to rent apartments to black women for a price. Oftentimes, the price was not monetary but was paid with their bodies.
Unlike other women, Patricia Noah didn’t have to barter with her body as she had made enough money from her job to pay rent. Her apartment was located in Hillbrow, a culturally active and artistic community.
Was Patricia Noah Married to Trevor Noah’s Father?
No, Patricia Noah was never married to the father of Trevor Noah, a Swiss-German called Robert Lloyd. She met her son’s father in Hillbrow, where they both resided. With the residents being liberal and didn’t care about racial discrimination, Robert and Patricia became close friends. Robert was almost twice Patricia Noah’s age, nevertheless, she desired to have a child with him as a protest against the apartheid regime.
When she first requested a favor to have a child with Robert, he declined her request as it was a heinous crime for a white man to have a child with a black woman at the time. Not only will the man be fined, the woman will be handed a five-year jail sentence, and their child will be abandoned at an orphanage. Despite knowing the consequences of her decision, Patricia continued pressurizing Robert, and he finally agreed to her request.
Their son, Trevor Noah, was born on February 20th, 1984. Patricia Noah was aware of the seriousness of her crime and so told the doctors that the father of her child was from a different country in an attempt to cover up for the complexion of her son. Her story was accepted by the doctors as they had to fulfill the requirements of race and nationality on the birth certificate.
Consequently, no one is listed as Trevor Noah’s father on his birth certificate, and his nationality simply reads, ‘another country’. Following the circumstances surrounding his birth, Trevor Noah wrote an autobiographical book entitled, “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood”. It was published in November 2016 and became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.
Patricia Had a Hard Time Raising Trevor Noah as a Single Mother
After the birth of Trevor Noah, Robert Lloyd would once in a while visit Patricia and their son. He then moved to Cape Town when Trevor Noah was 13 years old, and Patricia had to face raising her son alone. It was dangerous for her to be seen with a colored child, thus, she would wrap up Trevor in a swaddle to hide him. And when he grew bigger, she had to act as if her son had colored parents.
She enrolled him in a daycare for colored children. And she also found a colored woman in her building who agreed to pretend to be the mother of Trevor Noah when they go out, and Patricia Noah would act as the maid. And if she had to take him out alone, she would pretend that the child wasn’t hers. For most of his childhood, Noah was locked inside to avoid problems with the police.
Raising Trevor Noah singlehandedly, Patricia was devoted to showing him the possibilities that seem out of reach for people of their family’s class status or race. She taught him English as a first language and took him on trips. Also, she managed to relocate to the colored suburb of Eden Park and takes him to three different churches every Sunday in a secondhand Volkswagen Beetle.
On one occasion, she threw him out of a moving bus to save him from a violent encounter with a Zulu driver while returning from church on Sunday. She also threw herself out of the bus, and thankfully, they were unhurt. Though she raised her son with a tough love; beating him to teach him how ruthless the world can be towards men of color, Trevor Noah calls his mom his teammate and admires her strength and bravery.
Does Patricia Noah Have Other Children?
Yes, Patricia Noah had two sons―Andrew and Isaac Shingange with her first husband, Abel Shingange. With her Volkswagen Beetle always breaking down, Patricia would take it to Abel, who worked as a mechanic, to fix it. They soon grew from friends to lovers and then tied the knot in 1992. One year into the marriage, the celebrity mother had her first child with Abel and named him Andrew. At the time, Trevor Noah was nine years old.
Following constant abuse from her husband, Patricia’s marriage was on and off. She later had her second son, Isaac, before she eventually ended her tumultuous marital relationship with Abel in the year 1996. Patricia Noah reportedly married her second husband, Sfiso Khoza, in 2009, and it’s uncertain whether they had any child together.
Patricia Noah was Shot in the Head By Her Estranged Husband
Trevor Noah’s mother suffered serious abuse at the hands of Abel Shingange. As her husband’s culture required women to be financially dependent on their husbands, Patricia infuriated Abel by insisting to be independent. And this worsened his abusiveness towards her. Also, he had a drinking habit that gets his eyes bloodshot, and thus, he randomly explodes into violence.
Years after Patricia Noah left Abel, she was attacked by her estranged husband on her way from church with her family on Sunday. Abel got out of his car with a gun which he pointed at Patricia, yelling that she ruined his life. Andrew tried to calm the situation as he would always be able to do but noticed that his father was out of control, as he threatened to shoot him and was serious about it.
He then stepped aside, and Abel started shooting sporadically. To protect her family, Patricia Noah jumped in the way, and a bullet hit her on the leg, and she collapsed. As she was on the ground, she yelled for everyone to run, and Abel Shingange pointed the gun directly at her head. He pulled the trigger and misfired two times and pulled it again, but the gun jammed and kept on malfunctioning.
With Abel getting distracted by the gun, Patricia saw an opportunity to save her life. She made it to her car, but her ex-husband shot her in the back of the head through the rear window. The bullet, which came out from her nose, blew away some parts of her nose. Andrew drove his mother to the hospital, and thankfully, she miraculously survived the attack.
In the same 2009, Abel turned himself in, but following the nature of Patricia’s injuries, the severity of the charge against him changed. He was only charged with attempted murder and then took a plea deal which spared him jail time. In 2012, he only got three years of probation, which left him with a clean criminal record.
What is Trevor Noah’s Mother Doing Now?
While still married to Abel Shingange in the early 1990s, Patricia Noah established her Estate company. In addition to owning PN Noah Estates, the businesswoman reportedly serves as the director of several companies, including:
- Faith and Power Church NPC
- Dempa Investments cc
- Bodmin Investments cc
- Isacchar Properties cc
- BC Non-Payment Solutions
A wealthy real estate investor, Patricia Noah, is said to own numerous properties across South Africa, and they are registered in various company names. She allegedly owns the following properties:
- 13 properties in Highlands North
- 6 units out of 63 units in a building in Sunnyridge
- 5 units in Hermann Court, Hillbrow
- 28 units out of 77 units in a building in Sedgefield
Patricia Noah’s Controversies
As the owner of many properties and a few companies in SA, Patricia Noah was reported to be owing the South African Revenue Service (SARS) about R24 million in tax debt in November 2022. Also, SARS allegedly issued a final letter of demand to Trevor Noah’s mother in an attempt to recover the outstanding fees.
If she is unable to clear the debt within the stipulated period, she is in danger of having some of her assets auctioned by SARS to offset the unpaid tax. Additionally, lawsuits were filed against the real estate realtor by some residents of the areas where she works as a building administrator.
She was accused of defaulting in payment of electricity bills which they had paid for, and then getting court orders to execute the properties, which she allegedly bought for herself when they went on auction. A large group of residents in Hillbrow and Sunnybridge wants Patricia to be removed as the building administrator so they may not lose their homes eventually.
The City of Joburg’s Virgil James confirmed that complaints about Trevor’s mom had been received. However, Patricia’s attorney, Victor Seloane, called the allegations defamatory and wrongful.