“Would you let this man be with your teenage daughter?” Goes an outdoor billboard campaign being run by USAid and PSI. “So why are you with his?” the next line challenges on the ‘Cross generational Sex stops with You’ campaign whose billboard has the face of a man approaching his pension days.
The new campaign amplifies the truth about the sponsor culture, a mutually beneficial cross-generation relationships trend between school and college-going girls and (significantly) older men. It is a major social trend right now and with all the peer pressure, single girls are finding it hard resisting the allure of the 'sponsor'.
Few girls are dating boys their age like it used to be in the past. And there is no more talk of ‘sex waits until marriage’. The tables have turned. The old man is warming the heart of the girl who would call him ‘dad’. And the relationships are not coming cheap for the 'sponsor'.
In a WhatsApp group run by models, a debate erupted as to who was truly dating a popular big shot among three of the models. Two of them live in a new popular estate on Mombasa road where its rumoured that many of the young women who live there are bankrolled by 'sponsors'. Most of the girls own the houses which were initially going for Sh4 million each.
“That is my man and I want you to keep off. Unless you are his wife, I am not willing to share. Be warned,” one of the models wrote as she flaunted the house she claims the rich man bought for her. Pictures of an enviable furnished bedroom and living room bombarding the group.
The model, who is barely 25, went on to boast of her new status since she started dating the man, talking about her overseas escapades with the married man and claiming that she receives a monthly upkeep allowance of Sh100,000 on top of everything else he does for her.
“I don’t care about all that sh*t. Just know that your days with him are counted. Enough said,” the other model wrote, after which she posted a picture of her new car – to mean that the said man bought it for her.
It is a culture that has become rampant among young girls who are not willing to take up formal jobs, opting to live the luxurious life of ‘parte after parte’ with all bills paid.
These girls trade multiple lovers, with each fulfilling a given role in the girl’s life – all having a common factor that there is a romantic gain in it for them.
“You have to be smart to make it in this town. Which single girl dates one man anymore. Lazima ujue kuwapanga (you must know how to play them). There is one who takes care of rent, another one who sorts college fees, another one for the hair, another one for Uber cash and another for the weekend fun,” says Stacey, a 23-year-old who confesses that she lives on 'sponsors'.
“Too bad to say but boys our age have little if anything to offer. They are broke and boring. They only want sex and have no much to give in return. I would rather date a sponsor who will support me financially even if the romance is not so good. Who cares romance if you are financially sorted,” she goes on.
Asked about how much her said expenses cost in a single month, she estimates everything at around Sh150,000.
“I live in an apartment in Kileleshwa and my rent is Sh40,000. I spend around Sh2,000 on taxi every day and that brings it to Sh60,000 per month. My dressing, salon and other beauty issues come to around Sh20,000. Then entertainment,” she reveals.
“My father pays for my college apartment as well as my school fees but I have learned to bill my sponsor the same. I have an arrangement that my sponsor should put up these bills and he has no problem with that so long as he gets back what he wants, which is rather obvious. He asked me to part ways with my college boyfriend and I did so without a second thought. I mean, I am getting everything I want from him,” says one Claire, a second-year student in a leading university along Thika Road.
READ ALSO: The 6 types of 'sponsors'
“My friends are living the same kind of lifestyle. Most girls who live along Thika Road have sponsors. That is just the undisclosed truth. I think half of the campus girls have older men who are funding them. Most disappear from their houses on Fridays and only return on Mondays after the weekend fun with the sponsors,” she shocks.
From politicians to wealthy businessmen, these young girls have become objects of pleasure, partners of convenience who help them escape the daily realities of life.
Two weeks ago, people partying at an exclusive beach hotel were shocked when a chopper landed at the beach hotel and two young ladies alighted. They walked into a private room in the hotel where a politician was, only to resurface three hours later with the same chopper landing again to pick them up.
Another girl working in a city firm shocked her village mates last Christmas after she went to visit her parents in a chopper that had been hired by her lover – also a married man.
“Life has become so hard for the boy-child (young men) in this city. You call a girl to join you for a weekend and the first thing she will ask you is for money to make her hair after which she will ask for taxi money. If she is coming for a sleepover, she will demand that you provide for a change of clothes and that you also give her some cash for the week. Basically, this kind of pleasure investment will cost you not less than Sh20,000. Honestly, running an affair or simply getting pleasure in this city has just become hard,” says Jade, a 26-year-old ICT professional.
“These girls have been exposed to a high life or they are simply pretending that they belong to a given class. Take them to a club and you will see the kind of expensive drinks they order. You will think they are the ones who are paying. The other day a friend was forced to run away from the club and leave the girl he was with there as he could not afford to pay. This is what the sponsor has exposed us to,” he adds.
“For example, the pressure is on now from girls to get Valentine’s Day treats and gifts. Where do you get extra cash to buy these gifts and offer these treats? You will simply have to run away and leave the girls to the sponsor. Things are that bad,” he laments.
So what happened to the generation that took pride in being virgins till marriage? What happened to young people getting scared of sexual diseases such as HIV-Aids?
“I don’t know about the men but I don’t think girls fear having unprotected sex anymore. They know they can use pills... or even get to hospital in 72-hours and get medication that protects them from a possible contracted disease,” says one who did not wish to be named.
“If socialites are living this kind of life as a profession, what is wrong with a girl using what her mama gave her to enjoy a little pleasure. This is a willing buyer and willing seller kind of business. Haina makasiriko (it should not be a big deal,” she adds.
Whether we call it modernisation or erosion of morals, things might never be the same again for the girls who are not only celebrating losing their virginity at such an early age and taking up the 'sponsor' business but also idolising body counts (the number of people she has had sex with) as a cool thing.
Traditionally, loosing virginity was abominable before marriage. Young people today see no big deal in engaging in sex as early as 18 years of age.
The youth are more open and informed on sex than they used to be, thanks to the Internet and technology they are exposed to.
With this, we have seen a developing culture of sex parties and orgies even among school going teens. By the time, they graduate from high school, they are ready for the 'sponsor'.
The age and knowledge differences between the youth and their parents has also played a role – with parents unaware as to what their young ones are up to.
Things on the ground are different.