Dancing With The Stars SA contestants. Picture: Supplied

Season one of Dancing With The Stars has started on a high note.

And South Africa's wait to find out who will mentor the 12 untrained celebrities to Swing, Tango and Samba also came to a close as the show revealed the dancing professionals.

The celebs, who have all been working tirelessly behind the scenes for three weeks now to impress the voting public as well as the esteemed judges, will go head to head when the reality show airs every Sunday at 5pm.

In case you missed it, here’s what you need to know about the celebs and their pairs.

Popular actor and model Eden Classens, who plays the role of Justin in the hit Afrikaans soap Suidooster on kykNET, will be paired up with Ash-Leigh Hunter.

Hunter is one of Australia's most dynamic and well-trained Ballroom and Latin performers. She began dancing jazz and ballet at the age of 4 and found her passion for Ballroom and Latin dancing at age 7.  

Ash-Leigh is also a professional and grand finalist in Australia’s version of Dancing With The Stars and has also assisted a number of choreographers on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in the UK.

Funny man Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, a South African comedian will be paired up with Nombulelo Hlathi

Hlathi was born into a dancing family, with her dance champion sister inspiring her to embark on a career in the field.

Nombulelo competes around the world, dancing in countries like England and Russia and has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing SA. She has turned her focus to teaching and is eager to bring her coaching skills to her Dancing with the Stars SA partnership.

Netball Star Vanes-Mari Du Toit, who is a member of the South African National Netball team and has an impressive 38 caps for South Africa under her belt, will be paired up with Johannes Radebe.

Radebe got his start in dance at the age of 7 in his hometown of Zamdela in Sasolburg.

He appeared on Strictly Come Dancing SA, taking his celebrity partners to the finals during his two seasons on the show.  

Mzansi’s best TV presenter, former Our Perfect Wedding host, actress and DJ Thembisa Mdoda, who is currently also showing off her acting skills on Unmarried on 1 Magic will be paired up with Devon Snell.

Snell has been dancing for almost two decades. He appeared on and won kykNET’s Die Laaste Waltz and was featured at Ballroom showcase, Shall We Dance for four years.

Veteran South African actor Frank Opperman, who turned a slow-witted but smart-mouthed car mechanic called Ouboet into a darling South African icon and created an array of unforgettable, colourful characters throughout his illustrious career will be paired up with Jeanné Swarts.

 Frank Opperman and Jeanne Swarts. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg-born is an accomplished choreographer and has conceptualised and choreographed for a number of shows, such as the Soccer World Cup, Telkom’s GCEO Awards and Vodacom’s CEO Awards.

Actress and performer, Juanita De Villiers, best known for her theatre work and acting roles in movies such as Knysna, Somer Son and kykNET’s new movie, Hartsorg will be paired up with Johan Dippenaar.

Originally from Namibia, Dippenaar grew up in Pretoria.  He landed the lead role in French choreographer, Rheda Benteifour’s production of Redha’s Giselle and Crash Dance. Recently, Johan has appeared in local productions such as Classics is Groot and Afrikaans is Groot.

Former Miss SA Liesl Laurie, who is a presenter on popular radio station Jacaranda FM, and is the international brand ambassador of L’Oreal - Vichy Laboratoires in SA, USA and Brazil will be paired up with Ryan Hammond.

Liesl Laurie and Ryan Hammond. Picture: Supplied

Hammond was born into a dancing family. He turned professional in 2005 and became the 3-time British Show Dance champion.

Ryan reached the semi-finals of UK’s Got to Dance and won Strictly Come Dancing SA in 2013.

Wayde van Niekerk’s mother, Odessa Swarts, who was lauded for lighting up the South African athletics world and broke many sporting records - having competed provincially as a track-and-field athlete in the late 1980s and early 1990s will be paired up with Dylon Daniels.

Odessa Swarts and Dylon Daniels. Picture: Supplied

Daniels found great success once he started competing, winning the 2008 South African Championships. He has worked with incredible coaches, including DanceSport’s Michael Wentink, becoming involved in the popular Pro/Am category. Daniels will also be  bringing his experience as a dance instructor to Dancing With The Stars.

Film and TV starlet Zola Nombona who won the 2016 Golden Horn Award for best lead actress for her work in the movie Ingoma. Zola is also well known for her roles in several TV series such as Intersexions, Lockdown, iNumber iNumber, and Love Lives Here will be paired up with Tebogo Mashilo.

Tebogo Mashilo and Zola Nombona. Picture: Supplied

Mashilo is a professional Ballroom dancer and choreographer. His achievements include winning the Dance SuperSeries, performing in Sun City’s massive production, Rumba in the Jungle, and representing South Africa in the Dance World Championships in Paris.

Singer-songwriter Connell Cruise, who signed the biggest recording deal in South African music history after being spotted by music legend L.A. Reid will be paired up with Marcello Soliemo.

Connell Cruise and Marcella Solimeo. Picture: Supplied

Solimeo won many regional titles and represented South Africa in the Blackpool British Open Dance Festival. She spent time dancing on popular local music shows, Afrikaans is Groot, as well as performing as a soloist on Classics is Groot.


Former Bafana Bafana soccer star Delron Buckley who played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and represented SA in the 2000 Sydney Olympic games will be paired up with Angelique Allison.

 Delron Buckley and Angelique Allison. Picture: Supplied

Allison received numerous choreographic awards and went on to choreograph for various events and theatre shows for the State Theatre, The Performer and The Atterbury Theatre. She also choreographed and performed at album launches for artists such as Amor Vittone and CH2.

Former Springbok Thando Manana, best known for being the third black South African player to don a Springbok jersey. He now spends his time as a rugby commentator, pundit and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on Metro FM will be paired up with Michelle Oppenshaw.

Oppenshaw is one of South Africa’s most versatile dancers, having been a national champion in not only Latin American dancing but also in Showdance, Disco, Rock ‘n Roll, Hustle, Freestyle, Hip Hop as well as various street dance styles. She also appeared on the big screen as a dancer in Honey 3, and has danced, taught and choreographed both nationally and internationally, including working with local music sensation, Mi Casa.