Last month a new Facebook page cropped up entitled “BlesserFinder Mzansi”. The page categorises itself as ‘Travel/Leisure’ and serves as a matchmaking site for male or female blessers looking for a ‘blessee’.
Here is a typical post from a blesser:
This post has been shared nearly 100 times and has more than 500 comments with girls leaving their numbers or requesting to be ‘inboxed’.
This is just one of many blesser finders and matchmaking services in South Africa.
In April a website set up for people to register their profiles crashed due to high traffic volumes.
— Blesserfind (@Blesserfinder) April 20, 2016
The term “blesser” in South Africa, has therefore become synonymous with someone who blesses a partner with money and gifts. The Blesser is perhaps similar in many ways to the traditional sugar daddy.
Watch: Understanding blessers and blessees in South Africa:
This week the hashtag #antiblessers started trending on South African twitter when student Nkamogeleng posted a photo from her graduation with the caption: “When young women are busy searching for blessers we out here”.
— Nkamogeleng (@NkamoGoodNeSs) May 15, 2016
While the hashtag antiblessers received a lot of support, there was a significant amount of backlash from other users.
Tagging your graduation photos with #AntiBlesser when your father or male guardian is in fact a blesser.
Sit down and just celebrate.
— MissBwalya (@missbwalya) May 16, 2016
South African health minister Aaron Motsoaledi recently announced a three-year campaign focusing on young women aged 15-24, and “the men who are infecting and impregnating them”.
The campaign will further attempt to increase economic opportunities for young women, thereby ‘weaning’ them away from sugar daddies.
Motsoaledi told the BBC that young girls between 15 and 24 from poorer backgrounds are most at risk of being targeted and exploited by blessers.
The health minister made particular reference to those young girls who had lost parents to HIV and AIDS.
“Apart from the issue of who takes care of you… it’s just the issue of who mentors you, who speaks to you every day?” he told the publication.
The Twitter bio for South African company, Blesserfinder, reads: “Money is always a factor in relationships, This is just an upfront & honest way of dating for our modern times.”
Blesserfinder spokesperson Ditshego is confident there will always be a demand for the service the company provides.
According to Ditshego, this demand will continue until the government takes significant strides to tackle the levels of poverty and inequality in South Africa.