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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


South Africa has become a shelter for immigrants from all over the world (Wilkinson, 2015). Combined with its internationally recognized economy, it is a tempting location for foreigners to establish a business (“Starting a Business in South Africa as a Foreigner – A Complete Guide”, n.d.). With this in mind, the intent of this study is twofold. First, this project aims at analyzing how foreigners establish businesses in Cape Town. Its objective is to trace the entrepreneurial process from the initial stages to its recent development. Second, it aims at outlining their experiences in Cape Town, thus serve as a platform for sharing the experiences of six foreigners from different countries.

This research was conducted during a four-week period in Cape Town, South Africa. The primary method used for data collection was semi-structured interviews, thus the content deviated based on the interviewee’s eagerness to share. This study includes interviews with 6 foreigners conducted in their safe working space. All interviews were privately conducted and lasted between 30 minutes and two hours.

The findings of this research determined that there are multiple ways of establishing a business while maintaining one’s legal status. Although some came illegally, while others came for studying or working; they are currently residing in Cape Town. Subsequently, immigrants from different countries face various challenges, and with the exception of one interviewee, they have all experienced some form of violence or xenophobia attack due to being foreign. Overall, their relocation to Cape Town had been justified, but half of them see themselves going back to their country of origin.


African Studies | Behavioral Economics | Business | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | International and Intercultural Communication | Other Business | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences

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