Anti-blesser campaign more focused on the "blessed" rather than the "blessers"

The anti-blesser campaign was introduced by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi three months ago. Its aim is to keep girls in schools and wean them off so-called “sugar daddies”.

The department, with the help of international donors and other government departments, is hoping to put R3 billion towards the campaign.

CapeTalk/702's Koketso Sachane spoke to Juliane Hoss, One Young World Ambassador and co-founder of Bridges Camp about the campaign and the research she conducted in Thembisa, as part of her Masters thesis. It focused on assessing the main challenges facing high school girls in the area.

Hoss says young girls are in a vulnerable position in an area with enormous socio economic challenges and much poverty. She welcomes the campaign as a necessary step that will help support these young girls.

However, Hoss says that people do not fully understand the phenomenon of the so called blessers and the young girls they become involved with. There are many different reasons that girls become involved in these relationships.

What bothers me most about this campaign and how it was introduced, is that we completely seem to shut out the perception of the girls we are actually talking about. We all seem to be ignorant to the actual intentions and opinions of the so called sugar daddies.

Juliane Hoss, One Young World Ambassador and co-founder of Bridges Camp

So we speak of the phenomenon that I feel we haven't fully understand, that's what we need to address

Juliane Hoss, One Young World Ambassador and co-founder of Bridges Camp

Hoss says she is also concerned that the campaign is focused on the high HIV/AIDS infection rate, and not on the bigger picture of gender inequality which could be the contributor to the problem.

While conducting research at a school in Thembisa, Hoss says each girl she spoke to talked about sugar daddies.

The girls in Grade 8-9, they seem to speak with more wisdom and humility about the phenomenon because they acknowledge the diversity among the girls that date sugar daddies ... and they emphasise that there are different reasons why girls date sugar daddies. I find that really mature.

Juliane Hoss, One Young World Ambassador and co-founder of Bridges Camp

She says she found that peer pressure is the main culprit behind these practices. When girls move to high school there is certain pressure to change and adopt a new identity.

They either focus on their books and schoolwork, or start going out with men, and that's when they find themselves in a vulnerable position.

No one prepares them on what to expect at the clubs... because we don't allow such behaviors therefore we don't talk to them about it

Juliane Hoss, One Young World Ambassador and co-founder of Bridges Camp

Parents in poverty stricken areas are sometimes involved in encouraging their teenage daughters to enter into these imbalanced power relations, as it brings money into the home.

Listen to the full conversation below:

Read More
Protesting students did universities a favour, says UCT Law Dean

Protesting students did universities a favour, says UCT Law Dean

There's no 'business as usual' at university campuses thanks to student activism, says the Dean of Law at UCT.

12 holiday reads to add to your list

12 holiday reads to add to your list

Need a good book or two to take with on your vacay? Here are some wonderful suggestions from writer and editor Kate Sidley.

Do we get more up-tight and old-fashioned with age? Maybe not...

Do we get more up-tight and old-fashioned with age? Maybe not...

Are you afraid of change and settled in a routine? Or have you become more of a rebel as an adult? Callers share their thoughts.

ConCourt Judge is last #FridayStandIn for 2016

ConCourt Judge is last #FridayStandIn for 2016

Activist and former Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs hosts the Redi Tlhabi show this Friday.

Abantu Book Festival shining light on black voices

Abantu Book Festival shining light on black voices

Author Panashe Chigumadzi says fest born from historical exclusion of black authors and readers from existing literary circles.

How to get through the holidays when grief-stricken

How to get through the holidays when grief-stricken

Holiday cheer isn't felt by all families over Christmas time. Some experience grief or are reminded of loved one's they have lost.