“Foreigners know how to treat a woman. Our South African brothers are players, abuse physically and emotionally; you can’t depend on them”: Interrogating the links between xenophobic attitudes, gender and male violence in Du Noon, Cape Town. Nadia Sanger, PhD.
THEY are well-endowed sex gods - smart, loving, generous and exciting - but some people think they are defiant, tactless, infuriating, crafty and crazy. Foreign men are all different, but some of their characteristics stand out for all to see.
Though most foreign men are branded drug dealers and con artists, some local women are falling over themselves to get at these blokes. What makes them irresistible?
Zintle Zulu, 28, who is married to a Zimbabwean doctor, says dating a foreigner gave her security.
"Foreign men are very aware of a woman's needs. They are also better lovers. Most locals don't know how to romance a woman." She adds that foreign men are very generous.
"Not all of them have money, but those who do spend it on their women. Locals are self-centred and stingy and rarely spend on their girlfriends."
According to Mpho Ngwekazi, a relationship and marriage counsellor in Johannesburg, most foreign men are brought up to be responsible.
"Most of them grew up under the watchful eye of their fathers, unlike most South African men whose fathers were absent due to migrant work, exile or adultery," Ngwekazi says.
She says foreign boys are taught to take charge and take risks, get into fights, know their territory and to protect it and everyone in it.
"The average African boy is taught to be responsible, be a leader and be the head of the household. Most South African men struggle to define what a real man is. Often the yardstick is many children, many women, a sports car, the loudest sound system and so on," she says.
Some local women would not dream of dating a foreigner, but increasingly, and in greater numbers, locals are marrying or dating foreigners.
Contrary to popular belief that they are marrying local women to acquire citizenship, these foreigners are getting married for noble reasons, says Grace Malinga, a church marriage counsellor from Word of Faith, a charismatic church in Roodepoort, Gauteng.
"More and more local ladies are showing up with their foreign men for pre-marriage counselling. This is a sign of commitment. They are determined to make a success of marriage and are bonded by love, faith and a commitment and want to live in happy matrimony," Malinga says.
She believes some foreign men have brought stability to local women. "Some ladies come from broken relationships, some have children whose fathers deserted them, some are divorcées and others have never been in stable relationships."
She says some local men who are insecure can't stand foreign men. "Foreigners have shaken locals out of their comfort zones. They have shown them how to be real men and now local girls have a reference to compare with."
What do local women say?
Most women Sowetan spoke to say they date foreign men because locals don't have what they have.
Tabita Mbuyazwe, 28, who has been dating a Nigerian for three years, says her boyfriend has restored her dignity.
"Before I met Chinedu I dated South Africans, but they treated me like trash. I hopped from bed to bed looking for love. They didn't want to commit and they all had stable relationships.
"Some had children from different mothers. Some local guys have the libido and energy to father an entire village, but they do not know how to raise those children.
"Chinedu did not only bring stability to my life, he brought dignity too."
She adds that foreign men are happy, hardworking and provide for their women.
Tebogo Malatjie, 34, who is married to a Zambian and has a child from a previous relationship, says her husband treats her better than all the men she had had before.
"He appreciates my affection and acknowledges my efforts. At the end of the day, that's all a girl wants. Most of the men I dated before only wanted me for sex and for show. Very few South African men have genuine respect for women."
She adds that her husband not only takes care of her child, but of her whole family too. But some local women say foreign men are overbearing, controlling and authoritarian.
Akhona Zitha, who rues the day she met her Nigerian ex-boyfriend, says she will never date a foreigner.
"Many are bullies who believe it is 'a man's world'. They have a tendency to relegate women to subservience. To most, a woman's place is in the kitchen."
She says her ex was macho, fiercely independent, with a burgeoning sense of entitlement and thought the world belonged to him. "He expected me to cook and clean and provide sex on demand".
A woman who does not want her name revealed, says she got the shock of her life when her man from Cameroon, a vat en sit of three years, told her to vacate his flat because his wife was coming.
"I helped him to start a business with my money though I was rejected by my family. I felt insulted and degraded. I would never advise any self-respecting women to date foreigners."
Precious Ngwako, who only dates foreigners, says dating these men will require you to have some good qualities. She says you need to know your role in the relationship.
"You are not the head and should allow a man to be a man. African men like humble and gentle people. Down-to-earth partners excite them. This does not mean that you will be oppressed. On the contrary, he will protect you and build you up."
Tsheko Mahlanga, a local, says women who date foreigners are "easy" and rejects.
"They are enticed by money. When foreigners are done with them, they return to us broken. Some are crooks who have turned our women into drug mules and fraudsters, who are languishing in foreign jails," says an angry Mahlanga.