johannes-radebe

Johannes Radebe opens up about close bond with mum and Strictly's return

The pro dancer spoke to us from his native South Africa

hellomagazine.com

In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine in his native South Africa, Strictly Come Dancing's Johannes Radebe has revealed he has found his perfect partner: his mother Jacobeth.

MORE: Johannes Radebe opens up about his Strictly heartache

Inviting HELLO! to Sasolburg, the South African township where he grew up and where he has been with his family since lockdown began, he says: "This is where I began my journey. To have Mum with me now is so special.

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"It's rare to find her dancing but I know she can move. I've watched her when her favourite music is playing. She's such an elegant woman so I think ballroom would be perfect for her."

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And Johannes credits his mother for her strength after his father died when he was 12, and how, despite facing financial hardship, she encouraged his ballroom dreams. "We struggled financially but whatever we lacked she made up for with love," he says. "I learned that as long as you have a hot meal, a bed and roof over your head, you should be grateful.

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Johannes with his mum Jacobeth, who he calls his best friend

"Above all, Mum taught me how to love and for the people around you to feel loved. I respect and applaud her. She has done a phenomenal job and she's unique; my best friend."

Jacobeth, 61, also talks about the bullying he suffered at the hands of homophobic bullies who made fun of his sexuality and his passion for dance while growing up. "I couldn't fight the world for my son but I made sure he was loved and that he treated everyone with respect and kindness. Where are those bullies now who were mocking the very thing that launched him into his destiny? I'm immensely proud and happy for him.

johannes-radebe

The pro dancer in Sasolburg, the South African township where he grew up

"When I watch him dance it feels surreal. What blows my mind is that it's real and he's my son."

And as to how Strictly will return in the Autumn, with reports the show will have a shorter run, Johannes tells HELLO! "I'm as intrigued as anyone," says Johannes. "Fingers crossed they find a solution because we can't face the winter without Strictly. People won't be able to cope!"

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