Strictly star Oti Mabuse is giving support to the show’s new pro dancer Cameron Lombard after it emerged he was expelled from school over a fight.
She took her fellow South African to a London restaurant for brunch on Sunday to make sure he was okay.
Latin dance champion Cameron, 20, last week revealed how he had learned from the incident three years ago, saying: “That’s not who I am, I’m a dancer, I’m not a fighter.”
He claimed he had retaliated after an attack left him in hospital, adding: “I reacted in completely the wrong way, and I realise that and regret it.”
Strictly dancer Oti, 30 – whose sister Motsi is a judge on the panel – understands how volatile life can be in their home country.
Image:Dave Benett/Getty Images for For)
A source said: “Cameron came to Britain from South Africa on his own and Oti wanted to make sure he was OK. She knows he is sorry for what happened and she also realises how much violence pervades society in South Africa. She wants to support Cameron.”
Last month Oti feared for her parents’ lives as riots broke out in the country after the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.
Police were called when Cameron – a finalist in South Africa’s Got Talent in 2012 with dance partner Donlynn Fischer – was expelled from Cape Town’s South Peninsula High School in 2018 over his clash with another boy on school premises.
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But his former dance teacher Kim Isaacs, 39, said: “Cameron is dedicated to dance and never missed a lesson in 15 years. Whatever went on in his life he would walk over broken glass to get here.”
Meanwhile, former Strictly dancer AJ Pritchard believes Anton Du Beke will be “absolutely doolally” on this year’s judging panel as he replaces Bruno Tonioli, stuck in the US because of Covid restrictions.
AJ said: “I think viewers will miss Bruno as he’s such a huge character but Anton is the perfect replacement.
“He will bring all his knowledge and experience as a dancer on to the judging panel. I’m so happy for him.”
AJ and girlfriend Abbie Quinnen will run in today’s London Landmarks Half Marathon to raise money for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s burns unit after dancer Abbie suffered horrific injuries in a fire accident six-months ago.
You can help fundraising via AJ and Abbie’s Instagram @aj11ace.