They say money is the root of all evil. Well, actually, it is ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’.
In Botswana, that saying seems to be true in more ways than one. Currently, the civil service has come to a near standstill as civil servants are clamouring for a pay rise from their employer. And that is in the name of money. Even those employed in the private sector have and will always cry foul for being “underpaid but overworked”.
The cost of living is escalating. Rental costs are at a record high. Food prices and transport costs are beyond many. This has led many to look for alternative means of supplementing incomes.
Some have opened businesses on the side. Some have sought secondary jobs. Others are up to all kind of ills.
Reports from the Botswana Police indicate that violent crimes are on the rise.
The latest fad in Botswana, among professional women, is that of white-collar prostitution.
Yes employed, educated and professional women have also decided to dabble in the world’s oldest profession.
They have jobs; they get paid good money, and they do not need the trappings of marriage and serious relationships.
They are professionals, career girls who are looking to make it in the corporate world. But, of course, the cost of living is too high.
These women have a taste for the finer things in life, but their salaries cannot cater for luxury town houses, designer wear, expensive jewellery, fine cars and dinning in expensive restaurants.
So they turn to prostitution to supplement their income. They insist that theirs is classy because their clients are some of the country’s highest paid civil servants, top private sector executives, filthy rich foreigners, politicians, and among the country’s who is who.
And boy, do they charge hefty fees.
Kearata Monate* works as a junior accountant for a large company. During the day, she commands a great deal of respect, if not envy, amongst her colleagues. She lives in her own house, drives the latest model, top of the range German manufactured car, dresses in imported designer suits with the shoes to match and smells of equally expensive colognes.
She seems to take pride in her job as she sits behind her oak desk, auditing books, balancing statements and typing away on her laptop. But when the sun sets, she swaps her computer and designer suits for a mini skirt, high heels and handbag and wait for her regular clients to call for a booking.
Unlike Zimbabwean conventional sex workers, you cannot find her on the streets of Middle Star or Gaborone West soliciting for clients.
The clients referred to are mostly married professionals, who include businessmen, managers and CEOs, who are willing to pay lots of money for a ‘nice time’.
Another white collar prostitute is Thato*, a university graduate who works part time and has a steady boyfriend but admits to having been paid money for sex.
She says that it is not prostitution, because “I do not go out and stand on the streets waiting for customers”.
She says her clients expect her to always be clean, look decent and smell nice and rather thinks of the payment as a token of appreciation to assist with basic needs like toiletries and transport fare.
A beautiful young lady whom any man would die to put a ring on her finger, Thato brags of having bedded some of the city’s top brass including accountants, auditors, lawyers and CEOs as well as young upcoming professionals.
She brushes off my warning that she might contract STD’s saying most of her clients are respectable, responsible married men who would not do anything that would put their families at risk.
She says not all men she meets with want to have sex. Since mostly these are married men, sometimes they are just stressed up and need someone to talk or listen to, and yet they still end up paying me. She gets paid between two hundred and one thousand pula but says it’s not only cash she receives from these men because sometimes they even bring her presents from abroad.
*Not their real names.