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Motsi Mabuse describes ‘fight’ to succeed as professional dancer

The Strictly Come Dancing judge was forced to travel in a separate bus from white children when she started school in apartheid-era South Africa.

Motsi Mabuse (Ian West/PA)
Motsi Mabuse (Ian West/PA)

By Tom Pilgrim, PA

Motsi Mabuse has said she never wants her young daughter to feel inhibited by her skin colour as she described her “fight” to succeed as a professional dancer.

The Strictly Come Dancing judge, who grew up in Pretoria in apartheid-era South Africa, said that despite her parents Dudu and Peter protecting her and her siblings from the realities of racial segregation as children, they began to experience prejudice while at school.

Speaking to the Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous Magazine, Mabuse, who has a 15-month-old daughter, said: “My parents built a world where they protected us.

“We knew something was going on, but they tried to give us a childhood where we were shielded and not exposed to the harshness of the world.

The world is not fair in so many ways. I don't want my daughter to ever feel that she can't do something because of her skin colour Motsi Mabuse

“It wasn’t until we went to school that we first realised it was tough out there.

“It was about learning to live with the fact that the world isn’t fair to you because you’re black.”

Mabuse, who was forced to travel in a separate bus from white children when she started school, wants her daughter to be able to follow her own aspirations in the future.

The 38-year-old told Fabulous: “The world is not fair in so many ways. I don’t want my daughter to ever feel that she can’t do something because of her skin colour.

“I don’t want her to think that because of her skin colour she shouldn’t aspire to certain things.”

Due to her filming commitments for Strictly, Mabuse flies back and forth between the UK and her home in Germany alongside running her own dance school.

When she was younger, her father hoped she would study law, but Mabuse quit her law degree in South Africa to pursue her ambition to become a professional dancer in Germany.

She said she had developed a toughness required to succeed in a male-dominated sport.

I was like: 'I'm going to show them'. It gives you energy Motsi Mabuse

Mabuse, sister of Strictly professional Oti Mabuse, added: “I’ve had to fight. In South Africa we never had a chance.

“I learned that I’d never be a champion because of my skin colour and that’s what breaks you down and makes you tough.

“I was like: ‘I’m going to show them’. It gives you energy.”

Her determination saw Mabuse become a German Latin champion and later a judge on German TV show Let’s Dance.

Despite her current hectic life, Mabuse revealed she is considering expanding her family with husband, Ukrainian dancer Evgenij Voznyuk, 36.

Asked if she would like more children, she told Fabulous: “Yes! I’d like three, but I’m not sure I’d manage. So maybe one more. Maybe.

“I always wanted children but I was scared. Being responsible for a baby is such a big thing so I was nervous!

“Even when I was pregnant it felt overwhelming, but once she was here I knew I would kill for her. It does something to you.”



From Belfast Telegraph