HARARE – Back in the day, se_xual relations between young women and older men in exchange for financial support was frowned upon — with local playwright Agnes Kuda Gwatiringa even penning a hit drama series on the phenomenon called Asi Chii Nhai?
However, times have evolved and technology has advanced, sugar daddies are smarter and now even go by fancy names such as “blessers”.
So dynamic has it been that numerous social media hook up sites have mushroomed to link “blessers” to “blessees” (the young women) of their choice.
On Twitter there is a red hot hook-up account “Blesserfinder” — where women, mostly the young — are matched with rich “benefactors” in exchange for se_x.
The account pulling power is amazing, in the past few months the membership has surged as more and more people register in search for partners.
A question and answer session with Curate Zimbabwe, the account’s anonymous administrator sheds more light into the activities of the “agent”.
“You inbox us your expectations and pictures of yourself to our Facebook page or Twitter account. We match blessers’ expectations to those of the blessed and when there is a match, we give the blessed the blesser’s number.
“Blesser gets contacted by at least six blessed and refines match on whatsapp or over the phone. First date will be arranged at a public place and expectations refined further and the two shall live happily ever after,” the Blesserfinder account said.
While the general perception is that blessings are associated with God and divine provision, the contextual meaning in this case is the act of mutual gifting through financial support and se_xual favours.
Twitter legend is that the word evolved when unemployed women — without any apparent form of income generation would share pictures on social media of homes in plush suburbs, expensive cars, first class flights, jets in some instances and trips to exotic destinations claiming they had been “blessed”.
At the close of business on Thursday, the account’s Twitter bio read, “Don’t let the world judge your hustle, if you know you are beautiful, why must you struggle. Get in touch with us and we link you up with a blesser…”
The account’s administrator also explained to followers that “infidelity is not a crime” and frequently uses the #MoralsMustFall.
According to the account, the identity and safety of blessers and blesees is safe from public disclosure.
“@Blesserfinder what guarantee do you have that female blessees will not be beaten by the blesser’s wife,” Curate Zimbabwe asked in light of recent incidents where wives have publicly humiliated their spouses’ mistresses.
“The Zimbabwean government ruled that a woman cannot go through her man’s phone, so how will she find out,” the blesser account administrator replied.
The name and profile picture of the blesser are not revealed. The posts start with the words “Advert Alert”, then a screen grab of the description of what they want. Those interested in being “blessed” respond and are hooked up with the “blesser”.
During the question session, the blesser account also revealed that its services catered for all se_xual preferences, despite the act of ho_mose_xuality being illegal in Zimbabwe.
“The average age of a blesser is 34 and they are female blessers as well. Lesbian and transgendered blessers also,” Blesserfinder said.
Domiciled in South Africa — with a presence in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Zambia and other African countries — the account does not have a minimum age for the blessees.
It boasts some of its blessees are living the lives of their dreams with first class trips to the world’s best shopping destinations such as Dubai..
According to a South African news site, most of the “blessers” describe themselves as travellers, who go on domestic and international trips and need women to go with them.
Apart from the Blesserfinder account, another site that has taken the country by storm is called HePays.
The website runs advertisements of both blessers and blessees in Zimbabwe, with most prospects leaving contacts in the form of email addresses.
With an exclusive clientele that needs to create accounts to access other users, HePays poses a potential Ashley Madison risk for users.
In August 2015, thousands of married cheaters clutched their wedding rings just a little bit tighter after Internet hackers leaked the membership list of Ashley Madison, an American site with which married people signed up to have affairs with other married customers.
In the wake of the scandal, a handful of famous faces were tied to the scandalous website, many of whom have since confirmed the reports.
While most of these online blesser-blessee hook-up sites do not have protection against hackers, membership swells by the day.
Harare-based psychologist Sibahle Mtunzi told the Daily News on Sunday that most of the blessees were university students looking for financial favours.
“I have noticed that the majority of the blessees are still in college having a hard time to make ends meet. Another segment is university graduates without jobs looking for an easy way out,” said Mtunzi, who is also a volunteer counsellor at a local university.
She also said most of the blessers are married and well-off men looking for a good time with no strings attached.
“To have enough money to give a blessee the desired lifestyle, one would need to be very wealthy as most of the blessers have families,” she said.
Poverty has risen in Zimbabwe, with over one million people living on less than a $1 a day according to the United Nations.
In the wake of an ever shrinking economy and a bleak future, many women are now turning to the world’s oldest profession.
With an unemployment rate of about 90 percent, most Zimbabweans have resorted to other means to eke a living, and the blesser-blessee relationship has emerged a winner for most women.