In the vibrant dance world, true talent has a way of shining through, regardless of adversity. This persistence characterises Musa Motha, a South African amputee dancer who has inspired millions with his astonishing performances and tenacity. Musa’s journey catapulted onto an international stage when he brought the house down on Britain’s Got Talent, earning him a standing ovation and securing his place in the finals with a coveted Golden Buzzer. This 27-year-old talent has since become a viral sensation, touching hearts and minds across the globe.
Yet, our recognition of Musa’s prowess predates his recent acclaim. We had the pleasure of featuring him on the front cover of our spring issue in 2021, recognising his incredible talent.
As we step back, we’re revisiting some excerpts from that exclusive interview with Musa, as told to Lois Hill. The conversation offered an intimate insight into his life, his love for dance, and how he transformed adversity into a triumphant tale of resilience. Having his leg amputated at the tender age of 10 due to cancer, Musa has since danced through life, casting aside all limitations and dancing with grace and power that has left audiences and judges utterly spellbound.
The following words are part of that exclusive interview, offering a testament to the indomitable spirit of a dancer who refuses to let anything stand in his way. We recognised his potential early on, and now, the world joins us in celebrating his extraordinary talent. So let’s revisit his story.
Rising dance star Musa Motha is determined not to accept defeat. A potentially life-changing amputation at the tender age of just 11 shattered his early dreams of becoming a professional footballer. But young Motha was undeterred, and saw this as no more than a pre-destined redirection that would uncover a flair for dancing. Born and raised in the Sebokeng township of South Africa, the 25-year-old has hit the international dance scene, with tours to Dubai and New York already under his belt. Certainly a name to watch, the South African dreams of one day building his own institution to inspire other amputee dancers.
You have had a remarkable career in a relatively short space of time. How did it all begin?
I grew up in a hood where everybody played soccer. Back in the day I used to play soccer. That’s when I’d get kicked in my knee and started to get pains. My knee started to swell and I started to go to hospitals. They took blood samples, but they didn’t see anything. They eventually sent me to a hospital in Johannesburg and that’s where they did the biopsy. They took the blood sample of my bone marrow and the results came back positive with cancer. I started to get treatment and chemotherapy, then later the doctor suggested the amputation surgery.
After the amputation I continued with the treatment and chemotherapy. When I finished, I started to play music as a DJ and from there I started to dance and joined a local dance group. In my high school I danced for a local dance crew and things got serious. I did TV shows, newspaper interviews and in 2016 shot Drake’s music video One Dance when he was in South Africa. In 2018, I joined a group in Newtown called Vuyani Dance Company. That’s where actually I got the professional training, where I got the opportunity to be taught ballet, contemporary and afro fusion and other dance genres like tap dance. I also got the opportunity to travel.
What aspirations do you have for your career?
The biggest one is to create my own line of crutches for dancers and athletes. They will specifically be created for their fields. Another aspiration is to have a dance company that is globally recognised. My dream is to have an institution where I’ll be empowering physically challenged people. We’ll be training people to be entrepreneurs, open their own businesses and actually giving back by hiring physically challenged people in their companies. Basically, I just want to change the mindsets of physically challenged people to show that it is possible. Sitting down at home feeling sorry for yourself is really not an option. They need to get up and start working for themselves, study and yeah, follow their dreams.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a professional dancer, both mentally and physically?
It’s self-motivation. It’s not easy to motivate yourself, and working with abled people is a bit difficult because everything they do, it’s according to their body. So I have to convert and try different ways. It’s a bit time consuming and it’s a bit draining. The most draining thing is that I use more energy than able bodies because anything I do, I use 10 times more than they do. But if I can get the opportunity to dance with people in my situation then it might be a bit more understood and a different experience.
Whenever I’m thinking of the negative things I immediately think of my dreams and of where I actually want to be in the future, and start being positive. The support from people I have been working with really gives me strength and positivity. Teamwork I believe is very important.
This excerpt is part of the comprehensive interview with Musa Motha, initially featured in KOL Social Magazine Volume 7 “Access”. Order your copy of the magazine to dive deeper into Musa’s story and insights and to experience the full breadth of his inspiring journey. Thank you for joining us in celebrating and honouring Musa’s extraordinary talent.