A blesser is an informal word for a rich man who offers support (typically financial and material) to a younger female companion in exchange for sex or friendship.
The Letaba Herald identified three schools in the Xihoko area outside N’wamitwa in Tzaneen in Limpopo with pregnant learners.
Mdingazi High School, Gwambeni High School and Mapheto High School are some of the schools faced with the pregnancy issue.
A grade 12 learner from Mdingazi High School confirmed the high pregnancy cases in and around the area.
She says that many of the learners are dating older men (mostly married), businessmen and teachers for financial assistance
“Many of these girls come from poor families, they are dating these men, because they buy them Brazilian hair, cellphones and clothes just to fit with the cool crowds.
“Many of the ‘cool kids’ at the school already have kids and it sad because they are ruining their future by running around with these men”, an anonymous learner (not pregnant) explained.
The Letaba Herald spoke to two 16-year-old pregnant learners, who are currently in Grade 11 at both Mdingazi and Gwambeni.
In both cases, the fathers are Grade 12 leaners from local schools.
Thandy Baloyi* fell pregnant last year, a few months after dating her 20-year-old boyfriend, Thabo*.
Baloyi says she wants to study dentistry after passing matric, and that she is deeply disappointed with herself.
“I feel ashamed that I have disappointed my parents, I should have listened to them when they told me to stay away from boys.
“I should have used contraceptives,” Baloyi said shyly.
Meanwhile, Bethalina Mokoena* says she used to use contraceptives.
“My aunt used to buy me contraceptives at the pharmacy, but she stopped buying them for me.
“I was scared to go to the clinic for contraceptives, because they judge, swear at us and sometimes promise to tell our parents.
“I know many of my peers who visited the clinic for contraceptives and never returned for the second time because of the fear of the health practitioners,” Mokoena said.
A local health practitioner confirmed that sometimes nurses do threaten to tell the parents of the teens that they are using contraceptive.
The Department of Education in Limpopo said that it is a concerning matter which needs the whole community to work together in minimising pregnancy rates amongst learners.
“It is a societal matter which requires the involvement of religious leaders, traditional leaders, parents, youth structures and every other other stakeholder, and we must all be consistent in our messaging that education must come first,” said Sam Makondo, Spokesperson of the Limpopo Department of Education.
Clearly, teenage pregnancy is a societal problem that the community cannot continue to ignore.
Young girls are aborting their future because of becoming mothers at a young age.
Older men are continually dating young girls, often the same age as their own children and teachers are also dating the people they are supposed to impart wisdom and knowledge to.
* Names were changed in the article to protect the identity of the learners.