Motsi Mabuse: ‘People didn't expect black people in ballgowns’

Motsi Mabuse is remembering the rough dance halls of apartheid-era South Africa and the shocking sights she would see as she took her first tentative steps across their floors. “When we had competitions,” she says, “we didn’t have security and people would be drunk and starting fights. We were just kids and we’d watch people with knives running through while we were in the middle of a routine. Compared to that, Strictly isn’t so difficult.”

Mabuse, the newest judge on Strictly Come Dancing, first fell for the glitterball world at the age of nine after watching couples waltz, swing and cha-cha-cha while on holiday in Durban. “What I love about my parents is that they didn’t say: ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’ They found a way. But we had a lot of backlash, being the only black kids. People would laugh at us and call us names. We were bullied, but we just kept on coming back – and then we beat them.”

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 31/12/19]