Oti Mabuse fights tears over heartbreak of Strictly career

Oti Mabuse talks about the start of her career in South Africa

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Oti Mabuse left Strictly Come Dancing last year to embark on other projects, but her passion for ballroom dancing still remains. Discussing her latest documentary with Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas on The One Show, the professional dancer appeared to get choked up as she spoke about her introduction to dancing, and how hard it was for her to make it professionally.

She didn’t realise it at the time, but Oti’s family had to fight for her when she began ballroom dancing.

The Morning Live presenter went on to admit that she looked “different” from the other dancers.

Before speaking to Oti, Alex and Jermaine shared a clip of the dancer’s new programme where she explores South Africa.

Alex began: “You mentioned Strictly there and one of the moments that really stands out is when you look back at footage of dancing as a little girl.

“And you sort of have this epiphany, don’t you and you realise how tough it must have been for your mum and dad to make sure that you got to dance on those dance floors.”

“Yeah, we were really really protected as kids because South Africa was so clear about their racial lives,” Oti replied.

“Like people were not allowed to come together.

“And now in my 30s watching those videos back and going, ‘Oh my goodness’. We were the only black kids on the floor.”

“No one looked like us,” Oti continued. “So I can’t imagine how hard it was for my mum to walk into those venues with these three little black girls.”

Oti admitted that she had no idea what her mum went through at the time.

She told the hosts: “For her when she speaks about it she’s like, ‘It was hard because people were marking you down because of the way you look’.

“You couldn’t afford to go out of town to get lessons, the dresses, I had to make them myself.

“So what I thought was real was not what was happening around me.”

The dance pro went on to say she was getting “emotional” while talking about the struggles her family faced when she was a child.

“I had no idea that my family in the middle of the night was moved from where they lived into another town and was just given a tent and told to survive,” she said.

“I am getting emotional now. It’s emotional because your parents are your heroes.

“They’re the people that love you. You look up to them you stay with them because eventually, you want to take care of them.

“And when you hear that they went through abuse like my mum, all she knows is to fight.

“She had to fight racial segregation, she had to fight for us as girls, and now she’s still fighting.”

She later went on to say: “Dancing saved me.”

The One Show airs weekdays at 7pm on BBC One.

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