by Tebogo Mashego

PERMIT me to begin by telling you a little bit about my experience as a card-carrying Witsie. I met a lot of people around campus who left me with an “oh moment” when it comes to sex and how to find love.

I met students who have never been sexually intimate with another person, and they do not intend to do so until they get married (clapping once) while others have been sexually intimate, and they don’t see anything wrong with it.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s true of every single one of them.  They all have this naughty smile when they speak about sex. But one friend who stand out for me is Lebogang (not her real name). She is one of the most reliable people I know. Lebogang’s life as a sexholic took off when she was 19 years old in her first year here at Wits. Her parents pay her tuition and give her a little pocket money but her pocket money couldn’t maintain her lifestyle, so she opted to date rich guys so that they can finance her. She always tell me that the guys refer to her as a “side dish”.

She resides in university residence. Her room is well-furnished; a few expensive art pictures are hanging on the wall, a 32-inch television sits on a small glass table. Most of her friends have become her unofficial maids by running around and doing errands for her. When she is not at campus, she is doing what she does best: attend high society parties or go on holiday somewhere in Bela Bela. Her boyfriends range from the very rich to the working corporates.

She got into this rich dating trade through a friend who was already established in the field. Lebogang claims she always wondered how her friend was able to live a good life. “I wondered if her parents were millionaires,” so Lebo said. She claims that her friend told her she only asked for tuition from her parents, so Lebo asked her to introduce her to her network and she did.

Lebo is now a fourth-year student. She hangs in Melrose and Sandtons biggest hotspots and she will never be caught drinking beer.

“I only take wines and liquor because I have to maintain my standards and make a good impression. The better the impression, the higher the chances of getting high-class boyfriends,” she said.

“Most of my friends thinks I have rich parents,” she confesses. “I feel guilty about lying to them.”

During the course of the day, she receives numerous phone calls scheduling appointments with her but she zeroed in on one guy who she said doesn’t stress her and gives her a lot of money. Lebo gets her boyfriends through trusted references and sometimes randomly picks a guy, especially from house parties or high society gatherings. She usually talks to them first and later decides if they can be trustworthy and harmless to give her digits.

Lebo almost shed a tear when I asked her about her family: “I have lived a double life for four years now and I pray to God that my family don’t find out soon because it would shatter them” she said.

Lebo goes to church every Sunday to thank God for protecting her and “to ask him to forgive my sins.” Lebo said she is HIV negative and hasn’t been raped or contracted any sexually transmitted diseases.

“Many people don’t make it this far in this suggerdaddy business. I’m grateful to God for that,” she said. Lebo might be a “side dish” for now but she has dreams of having a better life.

“People should know that I also have set goals for myself, this work is strictly business and not for intimate relationships,” she said.

Lebogang has big plans beyond varsity. She want to be a professional who analyses regional matters and tries to create solutions. “If I can work in a place like the African Union, it would be a huge chance to put my university education to use” she said.

Lebo has no regrets: “I don’t want to regret anything I’ve done because I joined this business with a clear conscience and regretting it would mean that I made a mistake.”

“Sometimes, I feel like I’ve lost my self-esteem and worry about my education but I always dust myself and get back on my feet,” said Lebo.

Mashego is a BA student in international relations