Financial pressure and missing NSFAS funds are forcing young female students in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape to resort to selling their bodies to older men to make ends meet and pay their college fees. The SABC discovered this practice when students took to the street a week ago in protest of their NSFAS money that has gone missing.
NSFAS and the police are investigating the matter. Some students going through the ordeal had this to say: “My friend and I went out, because I wanted to fit in. She introduced me to this old man I can’t name. Then he asked me to be his girlfriend, saying he would give me money and whenever I need something I should not hesitate to contact him. So I had to regularly sleep with this old man to get money for transport, food and accommodation.”
“I think it is possible for a student to be successful despite having a blesser during tertiary because we come from different backgrounds and there are issues around bursaries. So we need money for accommodation,” some of the students say.
A clinical psychologist, Kempie Van Rooyen, says these students face various challenges that range from physical to emotional well-being.
“They are faced with a choice where they don’t have any other choice. So it’s either mine and my family’s survival or being in jeopardy or me selling my body in order to get tuition and other kinds of things I need. That could lead to someone angry and bitter and also influence the way in which they relate to other people because we can’t forget that if someone is forced into that choice, it’s a choice but someone is exploiting you, and making use of you because you are in a disadvantaged position and the effect of that is it damages the way in which we view relations,” says Van rooyen.