The Blesser & The Cursed

The Blesser: Level Zero Point Two

As the blesser-blessee dichotomy enjoys high mainstream and social media rotation, the socio economic “bartering” mutilation at blesser level 0,5 continues unabated. Dubai, gifts and expensive essentials are posited as the ideal, but on the ground and outside of Instagram, there is a woman dating a man because she hopes he will help her find a job.

(No need to mention the case of a former airline employee and a once powerful labour unionist.)

There is a woman who will sleep with a man purely on a wing and a prayer, because if she refuses to sleep with him, he will kick her out of his flat in the middle of the night. It’s a power play. Men have it, women, not so much. She is unemployed and an extra financial burden at home. He has a job, a car and his own place.

The social capital placed on one who commandeers a motor vehicle in township camps the ilk of Nkowankowa, Limpopo and Meadlowands, Soweto, Gauteng is immense.

In most cases she doesn’t even like him in that way. But perhaps he can show her another world, something separate from the daily squalor and endless misery of poverty and unemployment. He assumes that as soon as she glimpses his flat screen, comfy couches and fully stocked fridge she will sleep with him in order to secure a second visit. After all she often requests him to bring her food every time he visits her in the township. In his imagination, his two bedroom flat in a hideous Midrand complex seems like Nkandla to her.

She met him one evening when his friend who was seeing her cousin insisted that she bring a friend for his boy. So with nothing to do that particular evening, she was the friend allocated to a stranger. In the absence of any conversational skills and game, he said he was connected and could help her find a job.

He was pleasant enough that night but somewhere along the line of her sending him her CV to forward to his “connections” he asked her out for drinks. Just the two of them. He invited her to his place “innocently”. How could she say no? This could possibly jeopardize her job prospects. He was slick too. He was a nice guy, and didn’t make it seem like it was a tit for tat transaction like the blessers of today. He said he genuinely liked her and got annoyed when all she wanted to talk about was a job instead of the possibility of their relationship. Now here she is drunk at his place and not sure about her whereabouts. The last board she saw, read Buccleuh. All she knows is that she is very far from Dawn Park. None the less, throughout of all this she refuses to give him the satisfaction of sleeping with her. Instead she spent the night at his complex’s security cubicle. They too tried to bed her. So she vacated the warmth of their heater, Joko tea with bread and Rama, and ended up walking two kilometres to the nearest garage in the dead of winter to wait for sunrise so that she could find a taxi home.

The above scenario is a common occurrence that will probably play out somewhere in Johannesburg tonight. And it will be instituted by men who are devoid of any detectable appeal, men who proudly spew their ignorance arrogantly courtesy of a few bob. Men who would not a stand a chance amongst their peers. Boring unappealing men who have a rental lease agreement secured with their parents’ payslip. Brothers who have taken to othering their sisters, looking upon them as exotic creatures with certain behavioural patterns merely because they reside in government locations. Men who trade stories about their township escapades over month end Heinekens at Newscafe. Men who have concocted means as to how to deal with “resistant” behaviour, like threatening to kick her out in the middle of the night, or dropping her off in the middle of the highway if she refuses to sleep with them. Beings that would refuse to take her home the following day because she said no to sex. Good men, from good families.

The Cursed

While some women’s “blessings” exceed expectations by being baptised in expensive jewellery and Dolge & ntoni ntoni; names that cannot fit into Lazarus’s mouth, most of us have to settle for a six pack of guareezy which is the equivalent to too many rounds beneath the sheets of sin. Then add a morning round of doggy style for the extra two Guaranas that went to a friend. The grass is definitely greener on the other side of Mavuso.

If afforded the privilege of growing up in some township that almost didn’t make it to Gauteng, but almost fell into Mpumalanga, you are most likely to be taught the weekend custom/ritual by the age of 16. This would involve dressing up in very little, and then you would buy a red lollipop (for added effect) that would complement the skirt that could pass for a belt, and then hit the main road with a friend. The city boys would always come calling in a hand me down GTI and a good time away from life’s allotted grimy existence would be guaranteed. Veterans in the hood are always at the ready to dispense tips on how to slither away unnoticed towards the end of the night before being compelled to sex. These tricks of the trade are handed down from generation to generation as the cycle continues.

Regardless of whatever level of blessing a man can rank there is always a woman to be found on the receiving end who genuinely cannot afford R5 airtime. Women’s exclusion in a patriarchal society is further taken advantage of by its beneficiaries who continue to take exercise ownership over women’s bodies.

Blessers have been in existence prior to this terminology; they have been called Sugar Daddies and before that, husbands. That is how vast economic disempowerment has been for women throughout history. Evidently women’s economic dependency is a fundamental property of extremely oppressive gender relations. When counting blessings, curses must be remembered too.