Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse reveals dance saved her from an extremely ‘tough’ childhood in South Africa

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Motsi Mabuse
(Image credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

The new Strictly judge admitted she would be a very sad person had it not been for dance

Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has credited dance for saving her from a life of sadness.

The 38-year-old admitted it was very tough growing up in South Africa, and she and her sister Oti struggled to find a dance teacher due to tensions in the country.

“I’m so thankful for dance because if I had grown up with just the bitterness of the very hard childhood we had, and I’d never experienced the love of the dance world, then I probably would have been a very sad person,” she told The Mirror.

“Finding people to give us the instructions was difficult. It was a very difficult time in South Africa, so to be a little girl and push yourself in this type of dancing, where there are no other black girls, was really tough.”

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She added: “And when we did get the chance to learn the waltz and the cha cha cha, at a weekend club, we were soon better than the teacher.”

Luckily for Motsi and Oti, they are both now enjoying the high-life as part of BBC One’s Strictly family, where Motsi took over as judge from Dame Darcey Bussell.

Oti, meanwhile, is partnered with former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher and has been setting the leaderboard alight with their impressive routines since Kelvin stepped in as a last minute replacement for Jamie Laing – who was forced to pull out of the competition due to a foot injury.

Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight on BBC One with the results show, and next Saturday for week seve of the competition.

Jenni McKnight

Jenni McKnight is a beauty, lifestyle and entertainment journalist, currently US Lifestyle Editor for HELLO! Online. She has also written for HELLO! Magazine, GoodTo, CelebsNow, Daily Mirror and Yahoo!  Her first big break came when she interned on the Guilty Pleasures showbiz desk at Metro newspaper. She has since worked on the online lifestyle team at Woman & Home and Woman and was Senior Content Editor at CelebsNow.