”A short cut to a short life”
Slogan borrowed from A production by the National Children’s Theatre
What is a ”Blesser”?
Technically a blesser can be a male or female of any age.
‘’Blessers’’ is a slang term for a ”rich” person who offers support (typically financial and material) to control a younger companion in exchange for sex and friendship. In men’s case, they generally married older men who prey on poor and financially needy girls and young women. They provide them with gifts in exchange for sex and other favours.
It is a mixture of prostitution, sugar daddies and paedophilia. Experts blame the culture for a rise in HIV infections. At 7 million, the country already has the highest number of people in the world living with HIV.
’Rich men in South Africa who bribe schoolgirls for sex with phones and cheap shoes are a main driver of the highest HIV rates in the world.’’ The Guardian, 24 July 2016.
How does blessing work?
There are apparently ”levels” of being blessed. Here are possible examples:
Level one, for example, is when the girl receives airtime and data in exchange for sex.
For example, level two is when a girl receives fancy hairstyles (hair extensions), clothes, handbags, and perhaps a visit to local clubs.
For example, level three would be an iPhone, jewellery, a flat to stay in or perhaps even a car.
Level Four is the highest and includes trips abroad – for example, a trip to Dubai for shopping.
Young women from poorer backgrounds in rural areas are more at risk of being targeted and exploited by blessers, particularly those who had lost parents due to HIV and AIDS.
In some rural villages, the girls are constantly preyed on. They look up to an older man who makes promises. The common thread of young women here is that they want to find a way out of poverty. Some of the Blessers come into the villages when school is coming out and pick on a pretty girl who is barefoot because they know she has no money. Unfortunately, none of them is offering school uniforms or school fees. They offer cheap shoes or nice hair to a girl who would love something to make her feel special. The Blesser ends up leaving her both pregnant and HIV positive after a few nights out before raping another girl who resists his charms.
A girl who has a Blesser looking after her is called a Blessee. In a country where sex has become a transaction between the poor and the richer, the young and the older, every week, around 2,000 women aged 15 to 24 contract HIV. They are now the largest at-risk group, with those aged 15 to 19 up to eight times more likely to be HIV positive than boys.
In a recent research study by Johannes N. Mampane¹, girls showed little regard for contracting or spreading HIV. He noted the following responses:
”Everywhere you go, it HIV, HIV, HIV . . . it’s now boring and
HIV can’t stop me from what I’m doing (transactional sex)
because it doesn’t kill anymore. I know people who have tested
HIV positive many years ago, and today they still look fine. ”
”They have been telling us about this useless ABC (Abstain, Be
faithful, Condomise) strategy . . . but can they give us money to
From Mampane’s¹ research, we get the following reasons for becoming a blessee:
- Single girls said it improved their chances of getting a husband when they have many boyfriends.
- Married women said it provided them with gifts when they have a blesser despite being married.
- Girls in relationships said sugar daddies provided them with expensive gifts their own boyfriends couldn’t afford.
- Some girls said the more boyfriends they have, the more benefits they enjoyed.
- For many girls, their looks, clothes and accessories determined their social standing.
- Some girls explained they don’t have jobs to support themselves or their siblings (some are the head of a household), and being ”blessed” for sexual services pays for that.
- Then, the girls were forced into religious courtships with older men in churches who accepted and stayed with the men because they were wealthy.
What are the dangers of having a Blesser?
- NUMBER ONE: HIV. AIDS. DEATH.
- NUMBER TWO: UNWANTED PREGNANCY. SINGLE PARENTING. POVERTY.
- Another person owns you. He determines your worth, not you.
- You will neglect studies and homework to please a demanding older man.
- You will have to share the man with his wife and other women. He will never be only yours.
- If you are less than 16 years old, having sex with an older man will count as statutory rape.
- You will be selling not only your body but your soul as well for the money.
- What you will have is not love but lust.
- You will be a commodity – something that is for sale, not a human being with emotions.
- Your status will always be temporary – you can be replaced at any time.
- You will lose your chances of having a normal relationship with a boy of your own age.
- Your self-esteem will take a knock because you are being used.
- You will get used to cheap, instant gratification and never learn to work hard for economic freedom. This will hamper your development as a human being.
- You will have more regrets than gratitude in the long run. The shelf life of a prostitute is a short one.
What kind of person is a Blesser really? (male or female)
- They have no respect for ”blessee’s”. They see them as a commodity.
- They use people for sex and dump them when they are done with you.
- They have no responsibility towards you – they will leave you high and dry if you become HIV-infected (by them) or pregnant (in the case of females) and move on to their next target.
- What they feel for you is lust, not love.
- They will slut-shame you without a second thought.
- A Blesser is a sexual predator.
A shortcut to a short life. A production by the National Children’s Theatre.
¹Reproductive Health in Sub-Saharan Africa-Original Research. Exploring the “Blesser and Blessee” Phenomenon: Young Women, Transactional Sex, and HIV in Rural South Africa. Johannes N. Mampane. 2018