The thrill is gone

There was a time when Nigerians, Ghanaians, Congolese and everyone in between swept South African women off the chests of their men, even husbands.

There was a time when Nigerians, Ghanaians, Congolese and everyone in between swept South African women off the chests of their men, even husbands.

The rolling stones that gathered no moss, were very vocal about this phenomenon, saying our men must learn from them.

Their love, or penchant for South African women, was undeniable.

When asked by a local magazine what they found so fascinating about us, fair complexions, round behinds and self-reliance were some of the traits, the foreigners said.

A friend was courted by a Nigerian hunk and she later married him. It was the most functional relationship I ever encountered.

He pampered her like a princess. He despised me as much as he loved her. I had a big mouth, he said.

So I made myself scarce because I wasn't prepared to walk a step behind him.

Soon my whole circle of friends was abuzz with the African brothers; their sexual prowess, their money and their street wisdom.

While dating a foreigner is said to be like being on a permanent holiday, cultural differences have proved poisonous to the relationships.

"The inter-cultural relationships star has been on the rise for a long time, until recently," says Dumisile Ngutshana, 34.

"When I came to Gauteng in 1998, every woman I knew was dating a foreigner."

She said: "It looked like foreign men were a solution to South African women's relationship woes, but the euphoria died when women realised what these guys thought about local girls."

What exactly do they think of us? For starters, the man who hated me and loved my friend, thought nothing of my privacy. He unashamedly reprimanded me for having allowed a white man in my flat.

"He was in my flat, not yours, so what were you doing peeping through your window?" I asked.

"You South African girls have no morals," he replied.

Bongi Sikhakhane, 28, who thinks I'm petty.

"You should have dated a Nigerian to know the plight of women who dare to," she said.

"Mine treated me like a queen initially, until I got a better job. He came short to spitting in my face for my new job."

Sikhakhane said she ended the relationship because her lover was depending on her.

"For the two years that we were together, my phone bills shot up. He called Nigeria, Canada, the US and London. He cleaned me out in the fridge too," she said.

So what exactly did we do to turn the financial tables around and inevitably turned love to hate?

"For foreign men, South Africa is a halfway station. They have their eyes set on Europe," interjects Ngutshana.

It looks like our African brothers have become stingy too. Friends drenched in foreign armour have a common affliction.

"No one has ever told them that respect is earned. They treat their women like objects," says Beverly Sikwane.

"In the presence of a Ghanaian man, you might as well be dead because you aren't expected to have your say."

Zininzi Xaba, 23, disagrees.

"You will never meet a man as generous as a foreigner, particularly Nigerians," she says.

"It is this trait that local girls first fall for, until they are abused, tricked and even killed."

There is a tale of a Xhosa girl who cleaned out a Nigerian. Every time she asked him for R50, she stole R500 from his wallet.

Perhaps local women have changed how we are perceived and treated by foreign men.

"But then how do you explain their loud voices, their disrespect for their environment, their expensive tastes and the 419 scams?" asks Sikwane.

Xaba thinks local women expect too much from foreign men. She says we are making them pay for the sins of South African men.

"You don't have to bribe anyone to have a boyfriend and you would behave as badly if you were treated as a third-class citizen. All these men want is respect." she says.

"No, they need to mature before they get to Europe and get slapped with 21st century culture that will send them back to Lagos," says Ngutshana.