With unemployment syndrome having taken another turn in Botswana, the young generation in the blue, black and white nation have now opted to do anything as long as it puts food on the table.
Young boys have chosen to raid the streets as thieves, while for young ladies sex work is the only way, this include *Kamogelo (name changed) a young lady residing in one of Gaborone townships.
Born and raised by a single mother, the 21 year old completed her Botswana General Certificate Secondary Education (BGCSE) in 2016 and obtained 32 points.
Like other form 5 leavers, Kamogelo’s biggest aspiration was to further her studies at tertiary school and had interest in studying Tourism Management. Alas, her dreams were shuttered when Government told her that she does not qualify to be granted the scholarship.
Things got tough for her, with her old age mum residing in Thamaga (village changed), Kamogelo decided to find greener pastures in Gaborone where she stayed with her siblings.
At a tender age, she met a man who gave her hopes and promises that made her to fall in love with him. A year later she fell pregnant.
“Things started to be rough for us, we were both not working but the baby needed to be fed every day,” explained Kamogelo.
Kamogelo decided to retreat to Thamaga to be under the care of her mum. Just like any mother, the mother welcomed Kamogelo who was accompanied by her grandchild.
The duo settled, the mother played the motherly role taking care of her daughter and her grandchild but this was the same mother who was also struggling to put food on the table for herself.
“My mother alone is struggling financially, she depends heavily on her sisters for financial aid,” said Kamogelo.
Eight months down the line Kamogelo then decided to go and stay with the father of her child who a year later then impregnated her again.
Life took a different turn. Already Kamogelo and her boyfriend were struggling to feed themselves now they had two young souls who needed to be fed everyday.
Painting a picture of their struggles, Kamogelo says they can take two months without receiving income in their home. She said “it can get difficult, two months feeding our children from our neighbours leftouts”
Kamogelo would later then sought to join Tirelo Sechaba to work in one of Government departments where she earned P700.
“The whole idea was to find a job that I will be able to knock off early to help with the children since I cannot afford a baby-sitter.”
Although she is under the Government payroll through Tirelo Sechaba programme, Kamogelo felt the money was not enough leading her to venture into sex work.
“What will you do with P700?, everything nowadays is expensive and with just P700 you cannot cover all your basic needs hence the need to find other ways to make money, “she said.
The 21 year old says she ventured into sex work mid 2019. Although her services are only offered on weekends, Kamogelo says she has slept with more than 30 men without her boyfriend’s knowledge. “Mt boyfriend does not know I am in this kind of business infact no one knows except my friend Melda (name changed).
20 year old Melda is Kamogelo’s friend who is also in the same business. The two sometimes collaborate to offer men who are into young girls sexual services.
“Sometimes I get calls from men who seek my services for their bachelor party, and they will request I bring a friend,” Kamogelo elucidated.
Kamogelo further said for that service in a day they are paid only P500 each. Besides that when a man sleeps with her it’s only P100 some men can negotiate to P50.
Quizzed if she wants to continue what she is doing, Kamogelo shed a tear and told this reporter that sleeping with men for money is the last thing she wants to do.
“I honestly do not like this, but I do not have a choice, I know some will say there are other opportunities out there but if they were really there would I be doing this?,” Kamogelo asked rhetorically.
The young lady further said she only needs P1500 to set up a street hawker business, which will help her to re-write her BGCSE.