Opinion - At the outset, let me state this is my opinion piece and is written purely to get you, the reader, thinking more about this and hopefully take action.

We are still a community that keeps “bad things” within our own community and, in fact, even smaller within our close-knit families.

I grew up in this environment of respecting my elders and especially educators and to keep silent about “big peoples” issues.

I did so, but that does not mean my eyes and ears were closed too. I saw the evil, I heard the evil, but I did not talk about the evil as a child and while growing up.

As an adult, I am now talking about the evil. The evil that has become the norm. The norm that is called “sugar daddy, sugar mummy or blessers”.

None of these terms could be more wrong from a moral, ethical and human rights perspective. 

These people should be termed predators.

Adult, ageing predators with too much money and very little humanity.

Persecutors of human dignity, who utilise their wealth and power to acquire young men and women for sexual favours with no regard for their well-being.

You think it doesn’t happen in the Indian community? 

You think this is purely a “black” thing? Wake up and smell the roses people. 

They don’t smell as sweet anymore, and it’s in your own backyard. 

Remember that guy in the BMW, who always has a pretty young thing with him, and you admire his ability to attract them? 

How do you think he is doing that?

Do you really believe the young woman with him is interested in an ageing, balding man?

Or is she in it because she is reliant on financial favours to support herself and her family? 

And here you are, glorifying and even admiring the man for sexual exploitation.

Your parents would not have stood for it. Why are you?

Poverty is the leading cause of young men and women demeaning themselves for financial gain. 

HIV/Aids and other chronic diseases are on the increase again among young people, and the sad reality is that most of these so-called “blessers” are usually “happily married” older men with good wives and children, who are oblivious of what is going on or who have no control of their husbands.

There are also women, who are “blessees”, by the way.

The spouses, especially, are at risk of dangerous illnesses like HIV/Aids, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted diseases and often end up chronically ill or dead.

Remember the lady who passed away recently? She was such a good woman and cared for all? Wondered where the husband was “working” because he could never attend functions?

Does 2 + 2 now equal 4 or are you still missing what I have just said?

These are the questions we should be seeking answers to for ourselves firstly and for the betterment of the community in general.

Let’s protect our children from these sexual predators with money.

Suddenly, the “blesser” or “blesee” culture is seen as a quick and easy way of obtaining what you cannot on your own.

It is an “acceptable” culture of engaging in what I call “sophisticated prostitution”. There are no other words for what they do.

As a society, we are teaching and encouraging young men to become rich, so they can have whichever woman they want, even if these young girls and boys are way younger than their own children, and to the young women, we are saying there is no need for education. 

Put on a skimpy outfit, look good and you will obtain the riches you desire!

Is this really who we are? Is this how our children are going to judge us in the future? Judge us they will, and this is not the legacy we want to leave behind, surely?

Poverty should not be the reason why our children are endangering their lives and others by engaging with older, sophisticated, educated men and women in dangerous sexual activities to receive money, food, appliances, clothing, etc. 

Adults preying on the vulnerability of such young men and women should face prosecution and be named and shamed.

They should give a thought to how they would react if their child engaged in similar behaviour. It is downright disgusting that we as South Africans allow this to happen (knowingly or unknowingly) and that we have no sense of humanity when dealing with vulnerable people in this situation.

We are more likely to victimise the victim as being promiscuous when it is actually the blesser or blessee, who should be the voice of reason.

For me, blessers and blessees are armed and dangerous and a scourge of society. 

Pay closer attention to what is around you. 

Your best friend whom you admire for attracting women or men way younger than himself or herself could be a blesser or blessee. 

Name and shame them instead of praising and encouraging them.

Your daughter or son could be his next victim.

* Saira Khan is the CEO of Rise against Hunger Africa, previously Stop Hunger Now SA. They operate nationally in South Africa and currently support close to 50 000 children and university students with a nutritious meal every day. Her experiences in South Africa have shaped the way she looks at actions.

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