LONDON – Natalie Gumede, the star of a popular dancing show in the UK called ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ has revealed that her grandfather, Josiah Zion Gumede, was President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
Gumede was the only president of the self-proclaimed, and internationally unrecognised, state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia during 1979, before Rhodesia briefly reverted to British rule until the country’s independence as Zimbabwe in 1980.
Gumede was in power for just six months in 1979, the year before current Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe took over.
Natalie, who formerly starred in the ITV soap Coronation Street as husband-batterer Kirsty Soames, never met her grandfather who died in 1989.
“I have done some research and managed to acquire some medals and coins that show my grandfather as president. It was a great achievement,” she said.
Meanwhile, Natalie is still battling against critics who reckon that her former dance training gives her an edge over her fellow celebrity contestants. She recently said, “I have danced a bit before, I went to Italia Conti (stage school).
“I’ve never done any dancing professionally at all and I haven’t danced for over ten years.” She added, “I feel like I have more to prove. We all have to work hard and improve. There is so much talent — it is up to the public to decide.”