Oti Mabuse was visibly emotional during her appearance on Steph's Packed Lunch on Channel 4 this week as she revealed how coronavirus has impacted her friends and family. The Strictly Come Dancing star spoke candidly about her experience of losing someone to COVID, as she explained to her host: "My family's back in South Africa so because of the travel bans I haven't been able to see them in a couple of years.
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"It hurts, it's really sad. We talk as much as we can on Zoom but it's when you lose someone that it becomes real.
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"My best friend, closest to my heart, he lost his mum over Christmas… We couldn't go back to South Africa because their borders are closed, and he couldn't leave America. He's alone, no friends, no family, he went there just for work…"
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A tearful Oti, 30, continued: "What was worse was that we then had to attend her funeral and because we can't travel, that had to be over YouTube. Now YouTube is a place we go to learn, to have fun, to dance, never in a million years do you think you have to say goodbye to your mum, the queen of your heart – it makes me so emotional – over YouTube.
Motsi and Oti's other sister Phemelo (right) also lives in South Africa
"He didn't have a way to pay his respects… he was by himself in a completely different continent. It just made it real.
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"A lot of the times we hear that people get it, they're fine, they get through it, but when it hits home and it's someone you know, it's tough. It becomes real and it's harsh. It doesn't give you time to say goodbye, you can't see them and it hurts… you don't expect it to be that quick."
Oti and Motsi were reunited on Strictly after a year apart
It comes after Oti revealed she hadn't seen her sister Motsi Mabuse for a year before they were reunited on Strictly Come Dancing 2020.
Sharing her heartache over missing her family, the two-time Strictly winner told Lorraine: "Actually the last time I had seen my sister was the Strictly final in 2019 and because of the travel bans I couldn't go over to see her on her birthday. We usually celebrate together so because of Strictly that was the only family member that I could actually see."
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