Young girls warned to stay away from sugar daddies …
- Karabo Ngoepe, The Sowetan
They have lost their youth, but gained enough wealth to buy the company of many young “cherries”: that is the story behind the life of a sugar daddy.
Meet Rolivhowa Ramabulana, a grade 12 pupil whose financial difficulties are exploited and influenced by Kedibone Mahlope and her group of chomies into being a sugar baby. Rolivhowa’s whole lifestyle changes after meeting Bigvy Masemola, the sugar daddy; she no longer eats the same food as she had like other financially challenged students and is now able to afford expensive clothing and carry the latest costly phone. Bigvy has introduced her to a new lifestyle but at what cost?
While sugar daddies are not a new phenomenon, their latest incarnation could be described as a symptom of the “new” post-1994 South Africa with its rampant consumerism and glittering shopping malls, prevalent enough in South Africa for it to have created an acceptable subculture. The unstoppable rise of social media and easier internet access has led to the creation of websites that offer a “hook up” and the engagement in transactional sex. Young women can now meet and hook up with various sugar daddies who will provide the lifestyle they desire at the click of a button.
There is more temptation for those looking for financial and material support in a climate of growing poverty.
Back in the family home, parents who struggle to put one meal a day on the table for their family don’t ask questions about where the money comes from. Rolivhowa’s mother accepts the relationship since Bigvy supports them financially.
Rejecting to heed the warnings of Khomisa Maluleka, a fellow student and born-again Christian, about her “sinful ways”, she continues her relationship with Bigvy. Only later does she begin to feel the bitter aftertaste of a sweet life and in her devastation of discovering her HIV status, Khomisa becomes a pillar of support.
About the author
Nape ‘a Motana is a novelist and playwright who has worked as a copywriter, social worker and journalist. He’s authored Fanie Fourie’s Lobola and a prize-winning play titled The Honeymoon. He lives with his wife and four children in Pretoria.
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