Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse admits it was 'very hard' growing up in South Africa... as she hits back at Louie Spence's claims she was hired to 'tick a box'
- Motsi, 38, said she credits dance for helping her to escape years of discrimination
- The South African dancer will join the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel this Saturday, replacing Darcey Bussell
- Motsi also hit back at Louie Spence's recent claims that she was hired by BBC bosses to 'tick a box', branding the comments 'funny' and 'weird'
The star, 38, revealed that dancing helped her to escape years of discrimination, and credits it for saving her from a 'very sad' adulthood.
It came as Motsi also hit back at choreographer Louie Spence's recent claims that Strictly bosses signed her for the judging panel to 'tick a box,' which she branded both 'funny' and 'weird.'
Candid: Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has recalled her 'very hard' childhood growing up in a racially divided South Africa as she prepares to make her debut on the panel
Motsi told The Mirror: I'm so thankful for the world of dance because if I had grown up with just the South African 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.
'The world of dance is where I felt accepted as a human being.'
Motsi went onto explain that when she moved to Germany at the age of 18, it took time for her to overcome her own views about her race.
She added: 'To be able to hear people say, ''We love you'', and swallow that and say, ''Oh wow, thank you'', when as a child you were taught – through to your bitter bones – that you were nothing. It's something you have to get over.'
Struggles: The star explained that she credits dance with helping her to escape from a childhood of prejudice, and said that without it she would have been a 'very sad' person (pictured as a child)
Candid: Motsi went onto explain that when she moved to Germany at the age of 18, it took time for her to overcome her own views about her race (pictured as a teenager)
Close bond: Motsi is the older sister of Strictly professional Oti Mabuse, and has already insisted she won't be biased towards her sibling as a judge on the show
Motsi is the older sister of Strictly professional Oti Mabuse, and has already insisted she won't be biased towards her sibling as a judge on the show.
It also comes as she was forced to hit back at choreographer Louie Spence, following his controversial claims that she was hired by BBC bosses to 'tick a box'.
She told The Sun: 'It would be really sad if someone chose me for my colour only. I think a person of colour in any situation should be qualified to do the job. Not just because of the colour of their skin.
'You're always going to have someone attacking you in some way. But it's weird from someone who's never met you, I thought it was funny.'
Sensational: It came as Motsi also hit back at choreographer Louie Spence's recent claims that Strictly bosses signed her for the judging panel to 'tick a box'
Opinionated: In an interview last month Louie said: 'They've got somebody of colour, which is being diverse. They like to tick every box' (pictured in 2016)
Louie had previously claimed that Motsi was asked to join the judging panel as a way of 'ticking a box.'
He told The Mirror last month: 'I don't know her. She is a nobody. She isn't a celebrity. I don't understand why they wouldn't put Anton [Du Beke] there – everyone loves him as a pro dancer on the show – unless it was because they wanted another woman on the panel.
'Also, they've got somebody of colour, which is being diverse. They like to tick every box. I'm not saying she's not credible, but maybe that's why they chose her.'
Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.
Exciting: Motsi is set to make her debut on the Strictly judging panel this Saturday, alongside Craig Revel-Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Shirley Ballas