Johannes Radebe 'punched many times' in homophobic attack

Johannes Radebe remebers being bullied in school credit:Bang Showbiz
Johannes Radebe remebers being bullied in school credit:Bang Showbiz

Johannes Radebe was beaten up for being gay during his school days.

The 35-year-old star - who has served as a professional on 'Strictly Come Dancing' since 2019 - recalled his "horrid" experience of going to school in his hometown of Zamdela, South Africa, as he explained he was labelled as a "sissy boy" and would be duffed up by bullies if he got too close to them.

He said: "I had to duck and dive. School was horrid. They used to say to me, ‘Oh, sissy boy!’ But if I was close by I would have been punched, which I was many times.

"You guys [in the UK] have a long way to go still, but people make space for one another to coexist."

However, the former 'Celebrity MasterChef' contestant went on to explain that finding his vocation made him feel "invincible" and he loved being able to share his "joy" with his pupils, as he performed dance routines in his school assemblies.

He told The Guardian newspaper: "[Dancing made me feel ] invincible. When you walk onto any dance floor you take up space in a room. The music started playing and I knew there was a place where no one can touch me. I wanted people to how much joy and freedom this brings. I wanted to share it with everybody."

During his time on 'Strictly Come Dancing', Johannes has been paired up with former 'Coronation Street' actress Catherine Tyldesley as well as 'Men Behaving Badly' star Caroline Quentin and comedienne Ellie Taylor.

He was also one half of the show's first-ever all-male couple in 2021 when he finished second on the show alongside 'Bake Off' star John Whaite.

He added: "We changed the narrative, Everybody can dance with everybody now!"