Cape Town - Schoolgirls are selling their bodies beside illegal shebeens to earn money for alcohol.
Some teens as young as 16 openly admit to prostituting themselves to “sugar daddies” for cash.
The shocking revelation follows a Daily Voice investigation into the rise of underage drinking during the festive season.
Some girls confess that they turn to dirty old men who buy them alcohol in exchange for sex - because they cannot get money from their cash-strapped parents.
One 17-year-old Samora Machel resident, known only as Nthabiseng, says it’s easier to get money from guys at a shebeen than from her family.
“My parents don’t know that I drink so I get money from the guys I meet while I’m out partying,” she tells the Daily Voice.
“I don’t drink every day but I go out on weekends with my friends for some fun.
“We dress up and go out with just enough money for the first round of drinks because we know we will meet some guys there who are going to buy us some more.
“We’ll start dancing and chatting with them and then the drinks will come.
“It then means after partying we go somewhere and have sex.
“Usually it’s in the car or out in the bush.
“We don’t go to their houses.”
Some shebeen owners admit allowing teenagers into their drinking dens.
But they say they cannot always keep track of who they hang around with or leave the premises with at the end of the night.
“I’ve had my shebeen open for about five years now and I don’t usually sell alcohol to minors,” Phumla Madizeni, 40, tells the Daily Voice.
“Obviously these young ones try their luck sometimes to try and get in here - but I chase them away.
“But there are those who ask to stay and I let them because I know them.
“They come in to buy their beers and their ciders - I never ask where they get their money from.
“The younger ones usually come in groups, but I don’t interfere.
“The only time I ask questions, it’s for their age and when I tell them to leave when they start getting too drunk.”
The Daily Voice team witnessed groups of skimpily-dressed teenage girls openly drinking on the streets and dancing around drunk on the road.
And when the sun went down, the skirts got shorter - and the shorts even shorter.
Nthabiseng says the girls wear short skirts to attract more men.
“Guys only notice the girls with short dresses on and make-up,” she tells the Daily Voice.
“We dress up to look older so that we don’t get thrown out.”
Statistics released by the South African Breweries (SAB) earlier this year revealed that one in two teenagers in South Africa drink or has been drunk.
Many shebeen owners say they try to keep the teenagers out of their taverns by demanding to see IDs at the entrance.
But they admit it is hard to keep track of everyone on a busy day.
“Schoolgirls sometimes knock here at 6am while in uniform to buy beer. They often get very upset when I refuse to sell to them,” Babalwa Kenqa, 43, says.
“Once they are drunk, they have no respect for the elders, they stagger here down the road with older men shouting and screaming.”
* This article was published in the Daily Voice