Ex-Bok bows out of dance show gracefully – to daughter’s disappointment
After being voted out of Dancing with the Stars on Sunday night, Thando Manana said the hardest part about leaving the show was disappointing his 10-year-old daughter, who was his biggest fan.
Manana, 39, of New Brighton, said sending a video of Sunday’s episode to his daughter, Thandolwethu, was one of the most difficult things he had ever had to do.
“My daughter was more disappointed than me because she had hoped I would make it through to the final rounds,” he said.
“This morning [yesterday] was very hard for me to send her the episode that I was eliminated in.”
Manana is best known for being a Springbok rugby player, but he is also an author, rugby commentator and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on MetroFM.
His daughter aside, Manana said: “I am feeling quite happy with myself. It has taken me six weeks of the competition to slowly but gradually get to where I was.”
He said the samba dance just got the better of him on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, the samba was the one dance we did and it was a difficult dance to learn in four days,” he said.
When Manana and his dance partner, Michelle Oppenshaw, heard they had placed in the bottom two he tried to just focus on the task at hand – the dance-off.
The couple had to face off against actress Zola Nombona and partner Tebogo Mashilo.
“I have proven myself in this competition – and Sunday night was my time to go,” Manana said. “It was a bit difficult to have to go against Zola, because we had built such a close friendship along with Thembisa [Mdoda] – who is also from the Eastern Cape.”
Manana said he had grown close to actor Frank Opperman, who offered him a role in one of his upcoming movies.
“He gave me a long hug before we parted ways and said he would miss me,” he said.
“Things like this make you realise this journey is not just about the dancing. I am going to miss the chats the most.
“I am happy to have achieved what I wanted to in the six weeks and I have no regrets.”
Manana said he would be getting back into the swing of things with his radio presenting as well as spending time with his daughter in Port Elizabeth while preparing for the Easter weekend at his guesthouse, Edladleni, in Bluewater Bay.
While he left happy, he had been sceptical in the beginning.
“It was way out of my comfort zone but I pushed myself. I challenged myself and I learned that I hold the power,” Manana said.
“I have also proven that dancing is not just for slim people – you have to have self-belief.”
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