By Laura Fox For Mailonline
Published: 01:35 BST, 21 September 2019 | Updated: 01:35 BST, 21 September 2019
Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has recalled her 'very hard' childhood growing up in a racially divided South Africa as she prepares to make her debut on the panel.
The star, 38, revealed that dancing helped her to escape years of discrimination, and credits it for saving her from a 'very sad' adulthood.
It came as Motsi also hit back at choreographer Louie Spence's recent claims that Strictly bosses signed her for the judging panel to 'tick the race box,' which she was both 'funny' and 'weird.'
Candid: Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has recalled her 'very hard' childhood growing up in a racially divided South Africa as she prepares to make her debut on the panel
Motsi told The Mirror: I'm so thankful for the world of dance because if I had grown up with just the South African bitterness of the very hard childhood we had, and I'd never experienced the love of the dance world, then I probably would have been a very sad person.
'The world of dance is where I felt accepted as a human being.'
Motsi went onto explain that when she moved to Germany at the age of 18, it took time for her to overcome her own views about her race.
She added: 'To be able to hear people say, ''We love you'', and swallow that and say, ''Oh wow, thank you'', when as a child you