You probably know Trevor Noah as a hilarious stand-up comic, or perhaps as a best-selling author. Of course, he is also the Emmy-nominated host of The Daily Show, after taking the lead in 2015 over Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s signature program. with eight digits per year.
But did you know that he had an unbelievably tough life before all the fame and accolades? Raised in South Africa in the late ’80s and early’ 90s, the young funny man survived a number of decidedly non-funny circumstances, including threats to the lives of him and his family. On the other hand, it was this series of hardships and horrible experiences that turned Noah into a hustler, unashamedly pursuing his dreams and never giving up. Here is the tragic story of Trevor Noah from practice.
Trevor Noah’s birth was illegal
Born to a black Xhosa mother from South Africa and a white father from Switzerland, Trevor Noah broke the law when he was born. According to the law on the prohibition of mixed marriages, established in 1949, sexual relations or marriages between interracial couples were illegal, hence the birth of Noah was an act of resistance and rebellion that could easily lead to fines, an arrest or even imprisonment.
Noah wrote about the reality of growing up under South Africa’s apartheid system in his 2016 memoirs, which he aptly named Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, and noted that his mother often kept him inside, away from the eyes of the law, for fear of being taken away from him.
The comedian has also regularly used children’s stories as food for his stand-up routines. During his report on his show in 2015, entitled “The Racist,” CNN emphasized one of the jokes that best revealed how difficult life must have been for a young Noah. “My father couldn’t walk with us on the street,” the comedian told the audience. “He walked on the other side of the road and waved at me … and my mother could come with me, but every time the police came by, she dropped me. I felt like a bag of weed.”
Murder was a daily reality for a young Trevor Noah
Not only the existence of Trevor Noah was against the law, but growing up in South Africa was murder a daily reality. Even something as simple as commuting can be a life-threatening test.
Noah remembered such a copy in his memoirs and revealed what happened when he, his mother and little brother decided to hitchhike when they couldn’t find any of the (illegal) minibuses that were reserved for colored people. “Black people created their own transit system,” he wrote, noting that there was no official public transportation for non-whites. “We hadn’t even gone 10 feet when suddenly a minibus was just around the car and cut us off,” he wrote. “A Zulu driver got out with an iwisa, a large, traditional Zulu weapon.” He pulled the driver out of the car and “it looked like they were going to kill this guy.”
Noah’s mother spread the situation and the family got into the minibus, but the driver started calling her names, screaming and “getting more threatening until he finally said,” That’s the problem with your Xhosa women. You’re all sl ** s – and tonight you are going to learn your lesson. “” The bus started to run and then Noah’s mother knew they had to act. They jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran for their lives. As Noah remarked: “At that moment can my mother be raped. We can be killed. These were all viable options. “
As a teen, Trevor Noah hustled hard
You don’t build a career that is as successful as Trevor Noah’s by just sitting still and waiting for things to be handed over to you. On the contrary, it takes a lot of work and determination and according to his memoirs, Noah knew what it meant to work hard from a young age.
He learned English early on – “If you’re black in South Africa, speaking English is the only thing that can give you a head start,” he wrote – and in high school he began to earn serious money with his entrepreneurial spirit.
First Noah went to the local supermarket and brought food to sell to his classmates during the break. He raised the ante and started selling bootleg CDs and video games to the same children to whom he had sold food. He also made his own mixes and became a much sought after DJ for street parties.
Noah earned so much money that he could buy the most coveted shoes in South Africa: Timberlands. When one of his friends convinced him to wear them to a local talent show and pretended to be the hype man of Busta Rhymes (he was already paid by the organizer of the show), Noah did exactly that, and made some texts the stage and convince everyone that he was indeed Spliff Star.
Trevor Noah spent a week in jail
Although his urge never troubled Trevor Noah, he was arrested as a teenager and ended up behind bars for a whole week suspected of having stolen a car. As he revealed in his memoirs [via Vulture], Noah took a junk car from his stepfather’s workshop and set off, but he was quickly run over. “Police officers in South Africa give you no reason when they stop you,” he wrote. “Police officers pull you forward because they are police officers and they have the power to convince you; it’s that simple.”
When the police started checking the car’s registration, they found that it didn’t match the car’s license plates, so they arrested him, thinking he was driving a stolen vehicle. Noah was imprisoned for a week and finally released on bail. Upon returning home, he pretended that nothing had happened and told his mother that he had just stayed with a friend. He knew little, it was she who had hired a lawyer and posted his bail.
Trevor Noah’s mother was nearly murdered
When Trevor Noah’s mother, Patricia, married mechanic Abel Shingange, she couldn’t imagine he would endure her. Reportedly, Noah’s stepfather was emotionally and physically insulting. According to the Daily Mail, he even struck his wife with old bicycle frames. The outlet reports that the couple divorced in 1996, but continued to live together until 2003 when Patricia took their 15-month-old son, Isaac, and went into a backyard cabin to get away from the abuse. Noah no longer came home because he could not bear to see his mother suffer.
In 2009, Patricia finally moved after being engaged to a new man, who sent Shingange into jealous rage. As the Daily Mail reports, he claimed that he had only heard of the divorce that year and tried to reverse it. He then chased his ex-wife and tried to kill her. “I was shot in the face and back,” Patricia told the newspaper. “The bullets went through the nose and passed my carotid artery and one missed my spine.” However, they have crushed her jaw and go through her skull, nose and ear.
Noah was also in danger. According to his grandmother, Nomalizo, after Shingange left Patricia for death, “he went around with a gun looking for Trevor.” Noah’s stepfather “eventually” found guilty of an attempted murder, “but his sentence included only” three years of provisional surveillance. “
Is Trevor Noah’s family cursed?
In May 2015, one of Trevor Noah’s cousins, Cebisile Happiness Khoza, was murdered. According to the Sunday Times, Khoza’s friend dropped her off at a beauty salon and agreed to pick her up when she called. She never did, and her body was eventually found with stab wounds and burns in a sugar cane field.
The Sunday Times quoted Noah’s grandmother, Nomalizo, and said, “How do you explain this? It’s a curse, I believe the family is cursed.” The newspaper also noted that Khoza was the fourth woman in the family to suffer tragedy after what happened to Noah’s mother, a family member killed by poison and another beaten to death.
However, Noah and his grandmother denied the report. The comedian tweeted: “Thanks to some cunning journalism, my family and I have been trying all day to find out if one of us has died. #Awkward.” He continued: “Do not always believe what you read. I learned this from aliens when I traveled to Mars last year.” Meanwhile, the police confirmed Khoza’s tragic death, but admitted that they did not know of a family relationship with the Noahs.
However, the newspaper did not decline and when News24 spoke with editor Phylicia Oppelt, she justified: “We had several interviews with Mr. Noah’s grandmother in her home in Soweto. We attended the funeral in KwaZulu-Natal at the invitation of the family “
Trevor Noah’s now hustling in a new way
After a difficult start in life, Trevor Noah’s path went in the opposite direction, and he has since become the “busiest man in comedy,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 2015, Noah was replaced by Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, despite being relatively unknown in the US, and he did so well that Comedy Central put him under contract until 2022.
As The Hollywood Reporter noted in his 2019 profile on Noah, the comedian also flourished outside of television. His memoir from 2016 had sold more than 1 million copies, he was already working on another book, as well as a podcast, stand-up tour and Netflix specials, which, according to the outlet, earned him eight figures per year.
Noah never lost his childhood and ambition, but did it all on his own terms. As he told the magazine: “For me, it is head and head now and I don’t feel guilty about abandoning or abandoning someone because I’m single. My wife is The Daily Show.”
This article originally appeared in nickiswift.