'Sponsor' kills campus romance


As young Kenyan university girls opt for the ‘sponsor’ who is bankrolling their lives, poor campus boys have been pushed to a lonely corner as their colleagues no longer want to date them, writes MARGARET NGENYA and OLLY WAMBUI

"Why would I date a campus guy who is struggling like me? I mean, he can't even afford to pay my house rent let alone take me out on a holiday," says Emily, a third-year campus girl in a leading public university.

"I used to have one in first year but since I have dumped him for a 'sponsor' who is taking care of me. I am dating this rich married man in his late 40s. Our terms of 'transaction' are clear. We are both in this for mutual benefits," she adds noting that every month, he has to part with about Sh200,000 for her collective needs. In return, he gets sexual favours.

Emily is not alone. As the 'sponsor' trend hits the dating lifestyle in urban Kenya, many campus girls have opted to date older rich men, most of whom are married and only willing to enter into relationships with them with no "strings" attached. This has left campus boys as a lonely lot as critics have it that no campus girl wants to date them since they are "broke".

"The thing about the sponsor is that he does not have his time all around you like a campus lover would, something that can be so draining. You only meet him during convenient times as he too has other commitments like taking care of his wife. I mean, if I am having sex with a sponsor and he is taking care of my needs, why would I also have some broke college boy who is not helping my life," wonders Ann, a 21-year-old university girl who is dating a lawyer twice her age.

"He comes through for me whenever I need him. Besides taking care of my financial needs among them house rent and basic personal needs, I find him loving and mature. He is not excited about life and I don't think he has time to date other young girls out there. College boys have a lot of energy and time on their hands. They will sleep with you and still play you with your fellow campus mates. All they want is sex," she adds.

"The world is becoming a strange place for a college boy. When you ask to date a girl you like, she will either tell you that she has a sponsor or that she does not date men but girls. The truth is, we are a lonely lot," says Harry, a second year university student who jokes that all college boys can do is start dating high school girls.

"The last girl I had become so demanding that we had to part ways. She was financially demanding. Every weekend, she would ask like Sh5,000 for her hair and about an equal amount for her outing with her girls. At the end, as I could not afford that, she said I was good for nothing and that I could only be as good as a 'brother'. I understand that she is now dating a very elderly man," adds Harry.

Lately, most college girls simply live by the YOLO (You only live once) phrase and this basically promotes the idea that you only have one life and should do every crazy thing you can because you only have one life.

Besides, the college environment is a no-holds-barred ground. It is literally an environment of complete freedom. No rules, no curfews and no one to answer to. College is literally your oyster and while others see this as a time to reinvent themselves, for the vast majority, it is time to break out of their shells.