In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah makes it clear that his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, had a single-minded, sometimes ferocious dedication to his upbringing and to ensuring the he had the widest range of possibilities open to him. Because Christianity was the center of her own life, she took her son to three different churches every Sunday to expose him to a range of approaches to the faith. She also taught him English, inculcated a lifelong love of reading in him, and continually insisted that he should not regard any aspiration as being beyond him for reasons of class or race.
Mrs. Noah believed in tough love and frequently beat her son to teach him how hard life was going to be. However, she also protected him from the world. Noah's skin was unusually light because of his mixed parentage (the title of the book, Born a Crime, refers to his mother's illegal relationship with a white man). She therefore had to hide him when he was a young child and used to pretend to be a maid or nanny rather than his mother when she took him outside.
Later, she defended Noah from her abusive partner, Abel. At one point she came close to literally sacrificing her life when she decided to leave Abel because of his abusive behavior, and he attempted to kill her.