Johannesburg – One of the reasons Trevor Noah left South Africa for the bright lights of Hollywood was because his stepfather wanted to kill him.
This bombshell revelation is contained in a report by a probation officer tasked with recommending a suitable sentence for Noah’s stepfather, Ngisaveni Shingange, who pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of the comedian’s mother in 2009.
The report was read into the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court record this week.
In front of their youngest son, who was pleading for his mother’s life, Shingange shot his ex-wife, Nombuyiselo Noah, in the face and back, and left her for dead after years of harrowing domestic abuse.
The social development official, a Ms Sibanyoni, who did not reveal her full name, interviewed Noah over the phone after he moved to the US.
She wrote: “The complainant’s eldest son said one of the reasons he is out of the country is because the accused threatened to kill him.”
Magistrate Stanley Mkhari will sentence Shingange in May, almost three years after he shot his ex-wife as she was returning home from church.
This week, Noah broke his silence about his family’s ordeal, telling City Press in an email that although he was reluctant to comment on the case, he hoped it would shed light on “corruption” within the South African justice system.
“For years my mother reached out to police for help with domestic abuse, and nothing was ever done. This is the norm in South Africa. Dockets went missing and cases never went to court.”
It also emerged in court this week that Shingange, 49, only pleaded guilty to trying to kill his ex-wife last year, almost two years after his brutal attack.
“My mother was shot in the head in 2009 and her survival was a miracle,” wrote Noah.
“For three years, he has been free to live his life after trying to end ours. And now we wait to see if he will indeed be punished.”
In her affidavit before court, Nombuyiselo Noah said that God saved her. The evidence revealed that she was also saved by the fact that Shingange’s gun had jammed.
Noah spent thousands for the three days his mother spent in intensive care in a private Johannesburg hospital after the shooting.
This week, Shingange’s lawyer, Victor Nkwashu, told the court that his client was sorry and hadn’t planned to shoot his ex-wife.
“It was a crime of passion and Shingange was overcome with emotion,” he said.
The couple married in 1992 and were divorced in 1996. They continued living together until 2002 and Nombiyiselo Noah was forced to move into a backyard shack on the property with her then 18-month-old son.
She now wants Shingange severely punished for trying to kill her. But her youngest son, now 18, who lives with Shingange, insists that he is “not a dangerous father”.
Shingange himself believes he has suffered greatly since trying to kill his ex-wife. He has offered to pay a fine and compensate her for her suffering, but Nombuyiselo Noah does not want anything from him.
Described by Sibanyoni as a “highly intelligent, strong and great-spirited woman”, Nombuyiselo Noah still attended the same church as her ex-husband.
Nkwashu argued for a suspended sentence or correctional supervision for his client, who was described by a private social worker who testified on his behalf as “not having a pathology of violence”.
He told the court that Shingange cares for his elderly mother, who lives alone in Limpopo, and two sons, including Trevor Noah’s younger brother, who is now in matric. They would struggle if he were to be jailed.
“Prison will be highly inappropriate and lots of people will be affected by his imprisonment,” Nkwashu said.