Foreign nationals are upset that they are being stereotyped and blamed for crimes committed in the capital city.

Antonio Sesmora, a Congo national, said South Africans often blamed him for the scourge of drugs in the area.

“It is not good living in some parts of the country, especially in the capital city,” he said.

Sesomora, a father of six, said he has had to accept all the negative slurs and abuse against him and his family.

“Since day one when I was looking for a place to rent with my wife and children it has been difficult.”

Sesomora said locals rudely asked him why he left his war-torn home and settled in South Africa.

“Locals here did not want to know what forced me to come here. We did not just wake up and say we are heading to ‘beautiful’ South Africa. What was happening back home forced us to move here.”

Sesomora later founded a property company with South African partners and 15 years later he still lives in Pretoria.

“Funny enough, my company has a turnover of over R3 million and I have been able to employ over 20 people.”

Salaudeen Kamal, a fashion designer and entrepreneur from Nigeria, said he was verbally attacked for the way he dressed and talked.

“It is sad that as Africans we treat each other badly for things we can’t even prove, like those crime stats. How sure are we those crimes were committed by Nigerians or Zimbabweans?” asked Kamal.

Kamal has lived and worked in the city for almost 10 years and, like Sesomora, he has employed and assisted many aspiring South African fashion designers to start their own businesses.

“I don’t sell drugs and why should one foreigner who sells them taint others who don’t? I contribute positively to the country’s economy with all the shows I host and the number of opportunities I create for South Africans and Africans,” said Kamal.

Rekord spoke to teenagers who said the media was helping perpetuate the stereotypes around foreign nationals.

“I fail to understand how foreign nationals who contribute significantly [to the country] are not recognised by the media. Instead, the spotlight is put on a few who sell drugs,” said James Muzondo (19), from Zimbabwe.

He said these misrepresentations fuelled acts of hate like xenophobia.

Tshepang Nondula (19), a South African, said it was wrong for mainstream media to “bad-mouth” other groups or nationals.

“We believe the negative things the media says about our fellow brothers who are from countries like Nigeria, which is wrong. The narratives should be fair and balanced and it needs to change.”

Nondula said he would rather read about a Nigerian man who built his empire from nothing than about a Nigerian who was caught at the airport smuggling diamonds.Read more at:formal dress shops sydney | short formal dresses