Strictly Come Dancing is set to welcome new judge Motsi Mabuse to their panel on Saturday night. But ahead of her debut, the 38-year-old has opened up about the horrific racist abuse she endured during her stint on Germany's version of the talent show. Speaking to Radio Times, the South African-born dancer revealed a former contestant on the show sparked outrage when he compared people from her native South Africa to "monkeys".
Motsi Mabuse is a South African dance champion
"I've learnt the power of words. I've had the worst thrown at me," she explained, later adding: "Racism is very extreme and it has become worse in recent years. People are feeling, for some reason, 'We can attack.' They write some bad stuff - they're going to 'hit you with a baseball bat' and call me 'monkey'."
Despite the hurtful experience, Motsi believes the incident helped shape her as a judge. "I've learnt to not look that deeply into what people say as it's mostly a reflection of themselves," she explained. Motsi, the sister of Strictly dancer Oti Mabuse, will continue to act as a judge on the German version of the show and will commute between London and her base in Cologne throughout the show's run.
Motsi is also the sister of pro dancer Oti Mabuse
It was confirmed earlier this year that she is replacing former prima ballerina Darcey Bussell on the panel alongside regulars Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood and head judge Shirley Ballas. The judges met as a group for the first time last week as part of the show's red carpet launch ahead of the 17th season next month.
Motsi was recently forced to talk about whether she will give any "preferential treatment" to her sister Oti. "One of the main points everywhere in my life is fairness," she told The Sun. "Coming from South Africa and being treated unfairly all your life because of your skin colour, that’s been a huge point." She added: "I really need to be fair and she’ll get what everybody else is getting - the main point is that I’m not judging Oti."
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