Johannes Radebe thinks Strictly Come Dancing has helped him to become more “accepting” of himself.
Image Source/ Mirror
The 32-year-old dancer – who was partnered with Catherine Tyldesley on the BBC show – grew up in South Africa, where he was bullied due to his sexuality, but admitted that starring on the hit show has proven to be a liberating experience.
Johannes – who was subjected to homophobic bullying during his childhood in South Africa – told The Sun newspaper:
‘I’ve always known. I’ve always been proud. I’ve always been myself, regardless of what was said to me and where I come from.
‘I grew up in a country where homosexuality was frowned upon.
‘The society around me pointed to me and said, “There’s something wrong with you.” But ‘Strictly’ has helped me be a better person and accepting of myself. When I got to the UK it was beautiful – for the first time in my life I felt liberated’.
Johannes – who was eliminated from the show on Sunday night (27.10.19) – also explained that the ‘Strictly’ bosses were eager for him to be himself on screen.
‘I’ve done ‘Strictly’ a couple of times in other countries, but when I got here the production team told me to put on heels and strut around – and that’s my job!
‘That’s huge for me, because that’s something that would never have happened in South Africa. It’s just people accepting you for who you are, no matter what you do.
‘So now I feel more confident and comfortable because of my surroundings’.