South African comedian and host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah was born during apartheid. His mother Patricia Nombuyiselo was black, of Xhosa ethnicity, and his father Robert Noah was white, of Swiss German ethnicity. Their marriage was against the law, and Noah has since written about growing up under these trying circumstances in his 2016 autobiography Born a Crime:Stories from a South African Childhood.
Trevor Noah's autobiography Born a Crime
Born a Crime will be adapted into a film, starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as Noah’s mother Patricia. Patricia grew up in a hut occupied by 14 people and was deeply religious, taking her son to six church services/meetings every week. Patricia was jailed by South African authorities for her relationship with Robert. She later survived being shot at the hands of Ngisaveni Shingange, her abusive second husband. Shingange threatened to hunt down and kill Trevor Noah, who fled to the U.S.
Patricia Noah has recently been accused of being a ‘slumlord’ who takes advantage of poor residents living in her properties, which have been poorly maintained. Patricia was the administrator of several buildings in central Johannesburg.
Childhood photo of Trevor Noah and his mother Patricia
Nyong’o was a guest on The Daily Show to promote Black Panther and spoke about how she came to be involved in the project. “I was on the set of Black Panther, I pre-ordered the book, got it, read it and I sent you an email," she said. "And I said, 'Trevor, please would you do me the honour of letting me play your mother?’"
Noah joked that he was convinced that Nyong’o should play his mother after the actress sent along photos of her muscles, a result of training to play Nakia in Black Panther.
Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia in Black Panther
Born a Crime has yet to secure a director or writer. Noah is producing the project through his Ark Angel Productions banner. Nyong’o is also producing, alongside Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment.