Two Wyndham friends who saw a need to unite their community are gathering a strong following.

Truganina’s Pascaline Pesa, 19, and Jumess Tshishimbi, 18, started the movement Afro Fever last year to showcase their African heritage and fight negative stereotypes.

Starting as a school project while in year 12 at Tarneit Senior College, their grassroots initiative involved door-knocking invitations and running a cross-cultural barbecue.

“We want to encourage them to be themselves and embrace where they came from,” Pascaline said.

“We saw so many things happening in the community and the media that kept saying, ‘African youth are being thugs and criminals’, and I thought to myself, ‘this is not me. I don’t fit in that category’.”

The friends formed a dance group of 15 young people and perform at festivals and events around Melbourne.

Their goal for Afro Fever is to travel to schools and community groups speaking on issues that affect African young people and sharing their love of dance and poetry.

Pascaline and Jumess are both pursuing their passions for criminology at university.

“If you can’t change the media, go to the people … being African is not a badge of shame,” Pascaline said.

Follow: @afro_fever_au on Instagram