johannes-radebe

Johannes Radebe talks close bond with his beloved mother

The pro dancer spoke to HELLO! from his native South Africa

hellomagazine.com

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

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

MORE: Johannes Radebe opens up about his Strictly heartache

"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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WATCH: Johannes admits he 'lost it' after being voted off Strictly with Catherine Tyldesley

Johannes credited his mother for her strength after his father died when he was 12, and how, despite facing financial hardship, she encouraged his ballroom dreams.

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing tragedies through the years

MORE: Who is Strictly Come Dancing star Caroline Quentin's husband?

"We struggled financially but whatever we lacked she made up for with love," he said. "I learned that as long as you have a hot meal, a bed and roof over your head, you should be grateful. 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."

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

Jacobeth, 61, also spoke about the bullying her son 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. When I watch him dance it feels surreal. What blows my mind is that it's real and he's my son."

johannes-radebe

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

This year on Strictly, Johannes is paired with actress Caroline Quentin for the slightly shorter run of the series. The pair were one of the first couples to take to the dance floor in Strictly's first live show last weekend, dancing an American Smooth.

Judge Motsi Mabuse showered the actress in praise, telling her: "No, I didn't see a dancer. I saw a dancing queen. I want to say thank you." Even Craig Revel Horwood was impressed, telling Caroline: "You just have to watch that your feet aren't too turned out," before adding: "Elegant and graceful, I loved it." The pair earned a well-deserved score of 21!

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