EdBook in partnership with TUT FM hosted a dialogue session under the tagline #BlessersMustFall at the TUT Soshanguve South Campus today. The session was aimed at engaging in conversation with the students regarding the recent trending of blessers and blessees. Blessers and blessees are contemporary terms used to describe a sugar daddy or a sugar mama, an older person showering a young person with material gifts in exchange for sex.
Guest speaker Keoratile Ngobeni, founder of women’s empowerment organisation Queen Mentality, said that she personally feels the blesser culture is something that demeans a woman’s womanhood. “The fact that we as women has been stooped to down to a level of being equivalent to a commodity is something that doesn’t really sit well with me”, Ms Ngobeni said. “Through the organisation we also strive to make women know their worth and values by not stooping down to having a sugar daddy for material things.” When asked to comment on the approach of stopping and preventing more individuals from falling into the blessers/blessee culture, she echoed that knowing ones identity, ethics and moral values is pivotal in the fight against sugar mamas and daddies.
The conversation continued for a good part of the afternoon as a number of students with opposing views shared the platform. One student mentioned that he isn’t against the blessers culture as it is a fancy form of prostitution and it keeps the girls off the streets. Another student echoed that coming from struggling homes, university life on its own compels them to go out looking for blessers. “It’s not easy finding a part time job. Have you seen how many students are on this campus alone? How many would find part time jobs at the mall nearby?”
This alone is a call for concern as these are the thoughts of young South African’s, individuals responsible for the future of our country. At a micro level we see various forms of such relationships, where an older person seeks sex from a young person with the promise of monetary or material gifts or favours. We witness taxi driver’s court young girls daily in our townships. We have experienced cases where teachers seek sex from learners in exchange for good grades. All these are linked and as a nation we should not be surprised by the sudden trend. Sugar daddies and mamas are a stain in our society. They inhibit the cause to teach the young black child to think independently on how to make the most out life other than using sex to earn money. Collectively as a society we need to practice what we preach. We need to call out teachers whom are committing sexual misconduct in schools, taxi drivers who prey on young girls need to face the might of the law. Most importantly, as men we need to love our women unconditionally. We need to make them feel safe; we need to help them see their inner beauty far better than a mirror could assist.