A lot of people dream of success and lavish lifestyles but at what cost?
Meet a young woman, Bianca*, 23, who was promised a successful tender company by a rich businessman after she met him at an event she was promoting.
"I first met Stan at an event I was working as a hostess. Working as a hostess meant serving drinks to "important" people in the VIP sections of the events.
Because he was spending a lot of money on expensive bottles of champagne and also drove a really nice Porsche, I knew that he was very wealthy, but I didn't know who he was.
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A friend of mine who always had an interest in knowing the who's who explained that he was a 53-year-old owner of a multi-million tender business and was super rich.
While working that evening, I noticed that he had taken a special interest in me and kept requesting me to serve him, despite there being ten other hostesses that could easily help him.
I wasn't at all interested in him because he was an older man and unlike my friends I didn't at all see myself dating a older guy, regardless of his wealth.
However when the end of the night was approaching, he asked my friend to get my contact details for him, an attempt of which I was no stranger. I mean I worked at many events like these so older rich men were always trying their luck.
So I told my friend no, but she explained that me rejecting him would affect my tip for the night, and being a student, I really needed the money. So I gave her the go ahead, thinking that if push came to shove, I would just block his number.
He gave me a huge tip and left.
About one week later I received a whatsapp text from him saying "hi beautiful". I responded that I was not interested in a relationship with him and in fact was seeing someone else.
To my surprise he didn't persist but just said okay. Exactly two days later however, he spoke to me again. This time his greeting was a lot more formal, "good evening Bianca".
Noticing the change in his approach I responded in the same manner. In his next message he explained that he had admired my work ethic from the other evening and was hoping to speak to me about a "business proposal".
I must say that this had definitely intrigued me, him being a successful businessman could mean that he could be serious and not just trying his luck again. So I agreed to meet with him on the basis of it being strictly business.
I also took my cousin along just so I wouldn't have to be alone with him.
We met at a small café for coffee where he explained his business proposal - a tender company start up, of which I'd be the owner. At first I didn't take him that seriously, why would he do something so big for a woman he barely knew and who had clearly rejected him?.
However, as he continued explaining everything about the way the tender business would work I realised that getting me a company would actually benefit him because he was to own 20% of the company, meaning that if I made money, he would make money.
Also young girls my age were often on the receiving ends of lavish gifts from men like him, so the whole thing wasn't too unbelievable. As long as the relationship was kept professional, I was happy to be a young businesswoman.
This train of thought led me to dismiss the possibility that he might be looking for something else from me and so I agreed to everything.
Over the next few months I would be going to the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission), to register the company, the laboor department to collect tax clearance certificates and a number of other places to collect all the necessary documentation for my business.
Everything seemed very legit. I had even accompanied him to the Free State to sit in on meetings that he had with "potential clients" in order for me to "learn the ropes".
After a couple of months, I had collected all the documentation I needed and was finally a businesswoman.
Imagine my delight. I even shared the news with my family, who even though a bit skeptical, were very happy for me. We all believed that this was the big break we'd been hoping for, albeit "too good to be true".
Throughout the process of getting the business started I had a very professional relationship with Stan and even though occasionally he would take me and my cousins out for drinks and lunches, I made it clear I had no interest in a sexual relationship.
Now that everything was in order, the real work was to begin, as I would now need to actually bid for tenders. The process was explained to me thoroughly.
Because each business had to pay to buy the tender documents in order to apply for tenders, I had to wait for Stan for the go ahead.
Weeks passed and I heard nothing from him and one day he called requesting a meeting to discuss a potential tender my company would be applying for. So we met.
At the meeting he presented the tender document and I could see is myself as the head of a very successful black woman owned tender company. But then he requested something from me that made me feel sick immediately.
He said, "If you actually want to win this tender bid, I want you to sleep with me". Noticing my dismay at his request he added, "we've come all this way, do you really want to lose an entire company over a little pleasure?'
Honestly, I didn't know what to say and so I asked for some time to think, knowing deep inside, I would never sleep with a man in exchange for anything. Not even a business.
At the same time, after all my built up excitement and growing ambitions around owning a business, letting go of everything seemed terribly sad.
Caught at a cross roads between my morals and desperately wanting to be successful, I turned to a few of my close friends and cousins to discuss my dilemma. Eventually, we reached a solution.
A friend of mine, who saw no issue dating older guys ("blessers"), offered to pursue a relationship with Stan, therefore relieving me from the duty. I spoke to him about this and he agreed. And the two starting seeing each other.
A week later my friend told me she no longer wanted to see him. Puzzled by her sudden decision, I asked why and she responded that he wanted them to have sex without a condom and also refused to take an HIV test. She also said that after she said no he kicked her out of the lavish hotel room he was renting for the two of them.
I was shocked.
Stan called me the next day angrily demanding that I have sex with him or that I could just forget having a company or being successful.
Disgusted at his behaviour, I rejected him once more and never heard from him again. A few months later however I found out that he had made another young woman the promise of instant wealth with a tender business, and she actually went through with everything.
I have no regrets about my decision because my father worked really hard to pay for my studies. While I have no qualms with people who enjoy spoils from older men. I couldn't dishonour myself and my family."
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