Strictly's Motsi Mabuse reveals the struggles of growing up in South Africa under Apartheid

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Motsi Mabuse has revealed the struggles of growing up in South Africa under Apartheid before she battled to break through into the dance world.

The Strictly Come Dancing judge, 39, appeared on Loose Women on Thursday amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Speaking about her childhood, she told the panel: ‘I have to be honest, you just showed that pic of me as a little girl, I had to suppress the tears.

‘I still feel like now when we speak about this subject, everything keeps coming back from somewhere that I hid right back… it wasn’t an easy childhood.

‘Our parents did their utmost that we felt loved, that we had everything that we needed, but we knew in what kind of atmosphere we were growing up in.

‘If you look at that little girl there, she had to learn from the onset that she had to fight, that this is going to be a really tough life she’s going to live. 

‘You never felt anything is fair unless you honestly succeeded in absolutely everything you did. If I was running, I had to run to be the best. 

Special guest: Motsi Mabuse, 39, appeared on Loose Women on Thursday amid the Black Lives Matter movement

Special guest: Motsi Mabuse, 39, appeared on Loose Women on Thursday amid the Black Lives Matter movement

Throwback: The Strictly Come Dancing judge revealed the struggles of growing up in South Africa under Apartheid before she battled to break through into the dance world (pictured as a child)

Throwback: The Strictly Come Dancing judge revealed the struggles of growing up in South Africa under Apartheid before she battled to break through into the dance world (pictured as a child)

‘If I was in the school concert, I had to be in the front row – it’s the mentality I grew up with. You toughen up, but as a little girl, it was not an easy life.’ 

‘If you look at that little girl there, she had to learn from the onset that she had to fight, that this is going to be a really tough life she’s going to live. You never felt anything is fair unless you honestly succeeded in absolutely everything you did. 

‘If I was running, I had to run to be the best. If I was in the school concert, I had to be in the front row – it’s the mentality I grew up with. You toughen up, but as a little girl, it was not an easy life.’

She added: ‘When we came into the dance world, everything was separate in South Africa. We had competitions where only black kids danced and only white kids.

‘There were moments that you can feel it doesn’t matter how well you danced, that would never be acknowledged. From the onset, it was quite clear who was meant to win this competition and it was never fair.’

Candid: 'Our parents did their utmost that we felt loved, that we had everything that we needed, but we knew in what kind of atmosphere we were growing up in,' she said

Candid: ‘Our parents did their utmost that we felt loved, that we had everything that we needed, but we knew in what kind of atmosphere we were growing up in,’ she said

Motsi continued: ‘The first time I came overseas, I landed in London, I went to the dance studio, I started dancing and all these dancers were like, “Wow”, and I was like, “What do you mean wow?”

‘Everything that wasn’t celebrated in South Africa, in London I was put on some sort of pedestal.’

The star spoke about the success of filming the German series of Strictly Come Dancing, which ended four weeks ago, amid the coronavirus epidemic.  

She said: ‘Everyone was disciplined. The dancers quarantined in the same hotel and everyone was really careful to restrict from the studio to the hotel.

‘If we want to take care of everyone’s health then we kind of have to stay together and there should be precautions so we’re able to deliver this show.

‘It was the high time of Corona in Germany – people look forward to seeing some sort of happiness, some sort of entertainment… we took it very seriously, to entertain the people. 

‘It was tough, it was emotional, you felt like you had to be more than yourself. People love the show and it brings people happiness.’

It comes as BBC bosses are reportedly looking for a replacement to sit alongside Motsi, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood on the judging panel with Bruno Tonioli set to pull out of Strictly Come Dancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports. 

Disappointment: Bruno Tonioli is set to pull out of Strictly Come Dancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports

Disappointment: Bruno Tonioli is set to pull out of Strictly Come Dancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports

The 64-year-old choreographer is said to have prioritised the US series Dancing With The Stars over the UK version of the hit show.

A TV source told the Daily Star: ‘Travelling back and forth to the US isn’t likely to be possible this year. The primary concern is that regular flights would put Bruno at risk of catching the virus.

‘And on a logistical level he may need to quarantine every time he arrives back in Britain, which obviously isn’t viable if he needs to be back in the US just a few days later.’

Bruno has been warned against making regular flights across the Atlantic, especially given his age.

Decisions: The 64-year-old choreographer is said to have prioritised the US series Dancing With The Stars over the UK version of the hit show

Decisions: The 64-year-old choreographer is said to have prioritised the US series Dancing With The Stars over the UK version of the hit show

The insider said: ‘Producers don’t want to take any chances. Bruno’s health is the priority.’

Bruno is a popular member of the judging panel and TV bosses fear his absence will lead to a fall in viewer numbers.

The source explained: ‘Bruno has missed weeks here and there in the past because of his commitments in the US, and other stars have covered for him.

‘But finding someone to replace him for a whole series will be a big ask. Also, he is so popular. Without him some viewers may switch off.’ 

Replacement: It is thought that Strictly bosses are now looking for a new judge to work alongside Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood on the BBC show

Replacement: It is thought that Strictly bosses are now looking for a new judge to work alongside Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood on the BBC show

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