Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe Image via Instagram @johannesradebe

‘Strictly’ star Johannes Radebe recalls grim homophobic attack as a teen

‘Strictly ‘ star Johannes Radebe recalled being victim to a homophobic attack as a teenager when a classmate attacked him with a baseball bat.

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe Image via Instagram @johannesradebe

South Africans might know Johannes Radebe from the South African spin-off of the hit show Dancing With The Stars. After appearing on the UK’s Strictly Come Dancing, Radebe is now joining a few other UK celebs on Celebrity Masterchef UK. 

Having started dancing at a young age, Radebe was bullied a lot. He has been called names like “sissy boy” by his classmates.

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The dance star grew up in Zamdela, a township close to Sasolburg in Gauteng. Speaking to The Sun in 2019, Radebe mentioned that he was the victim of a homophobic attack in the township.

At 17, Radebe was attacked by another school pupil with a baseball bat. He says he remembers asking the pupil what he had done wrong, and the pupil responded: “Well, you’re a faggot and disgusting.”

“We ended up physically fighting because when somebody comes at you with a baseball bat, I don’t think you can just stand there.”

He explained that the motive behind the attack could’ve been jealousy, as Radebe was rarely at school because he was away attending dance competitions.


The flamboyant 34-year-old dancer joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2018. He shared that joining Strictly Come Dancing was one of the biggest achievements of his dancing career. 

“It is such an honour to be chosen to be a part of an incredible cast and be part of one of the biggest shows that is celebrated worldwide.”

Johannes Radebe has also broken boundaries on Strictly Come Dancing. He performed the show’s first all-male routine with his best friend and fellow dancer Graziano Di Prima. After the dance he shared that he felt liberated. 

After experiencing bullying and a brutal homophobic attack, he says he’s found a home in the dance studio. 

ALSO READ: ‘Masterchef South Africa’ set to return for a FOURTH season! [watch]


The line-up for Celebrity Masterchef includes several UK celebrities including Johannes Radebe. The show kicked off on Monday, 9 August with the likes of Love Island star Kem Cetinay, actress Michelle Collins and Paralympic athlete Kadeena Cox. 

Radebe said he couldn’t miss the opportunity to be on the show because his family are such big fans of Masterchef. He says that one of the hardest things about Celebrity Masterchef is cooking up a storm without a glass of prosecco nearby.