“It is a change in fashion and style. It is a matter of exploring various avenues and fantasies,” says Ingrid, a Norwegian woman in her mid 30s whilst downing a tot of Spanish tequila.
Her expensive taste of jewellery and clothing reflects an affluent background of her hometown of Fredrikstad, south of the Nordic nation.
As Ingrid nods her head to the rhythm of heavy metal rock music of the Motley Crew, she occasionally caresses a shabbily dressed young man also imbibing expensive whisky at her expense.
Ambrose Nyoni, the shabbily dressed young man, appears unperturbed by the evidently lurid groping from the woman who appears to be twice his age.
To him, this is his catch of the day.
Such scenes have become common in Victoria Falls where male prostitution has become rampant with the euphemism “gigolo” to go with it.
Nyoni, who had a penchant for expensive taste from his childhood but lacked the means to attain the same started off as a stone carver after dropping out of school at a tender age.
Since his father, a former boxer known in his heyday as “Dhamu Mafuwe”, did not view outright benefits accrued from going to school, he opted that young Ambrose joins what he deemed the lucrative industry of art.
Victoria Falls, a town with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds at any given time of the year, is naturally ideal for the arts and it appealed to old Dhamu, and eventually it proved to be Ambrose’s waterloo with poverty.
It is during the midst of transactions with various tourists who wanted his curios that he found out that her “white clientele” wanted more than the soapstone and serpentine he sold.
Ambrose said while the foreigners had a taste in African souvenirs, there was another penchant that needed to be satisfied.
“They wanted sex first and foremost before indulging in other transactions, which are peripheral to most of their sojourns into Africa,” he said.
Having realised some of the benefits which can be obtained by involving oneself in these inter-racial sexcapades, hordes of unemployed youths in the town have suddenly turned into male escorts, also known as “kagema” in Japanese.
“At around sunset, they congregate at drinking holes dotted around the small town waiting for the ‘lady bosses’ to pitch up.
“As the sun sets to gives way to darkness, the white female ladies, like foxes on the prowl, begin to trickle in droves looking for the day’s catch (the male prostitutes),” said a Mr Salani Kilasi, himself a former “rent-boy”.
The male prostitutes normally congregate in groups of four and are distinct in that unlike the infamous female ladies of the night, who are well groomed, the male masseur are shabbily dressed, most of them wearing dirty dreadlocks.
“The female white hold the perceived African male stereotype that of being muscular, dark black, barbaric and savage looking,” said Mr Kilasi who has now retired to take up an active role in the HIV awareness campaign in the town.
“What is peculiar about these drinking spots is that they are often shunned by the level-headed imbibers, who opt to stay away from these inter-racial rendezvous in fear of these savage-looking, dread-locked pimps,” he said.
“Surprisingly, the dirtiness is the scent which attracts the white female, the same way bees are attracted to the nectar of the flower,” he said.
Once each and every member of the cartel has found or rather has been found by his catch for the night, they indulge in an orgy of public show of affection involving intimate fondling and kissing.
After downing a couple of the wise waters, of course from the coffers of the mistress, they drift to the lodges and other back-packers where these white women would be booked.
While there, they indulge in orgies of various sex-capades normally a preserve of the X-rated adult entertainment world.
Normally, the white mistresses prefer lodges and back-packers than hotels because the later have certain standards and criteria which their “catch” does not conform to.
The orgies include a variety of intimate relationship that go as far as unprotected sex.
It has since emerged that some of these sex tourists are convicted sex offenders in their countries whilst others are infected with HIV. PADARE/Enkudhleni, the men’s forum on gender, director Mr Kelvin Hazangwe said men face societal challenges as providers and bread-winners but must explore other means of earning a decent living.
“They must get involved from an informed perspective as in extreme cases some end up being sex slaves used as pawns in pornographic and other immoral acts,” he said.
There are cases where some are said to have been involved in acts of bestiality and homosexuality, which is taboo in these parts of the world but is the norm in the Western world.
Social commentator Mrs Rebbecah Chisamba cited laziness and lack of employment as the causative to male prostitution.
“In a Zimbabwean culture set-up, prostitution has been a female phenomenon and it becomes shameful when men stoop so low.
“These foreigners have dissolved our culture and to them HIV is not a strange thing, meaning most of them might be positive and deliberately dishing out the virus to many Zimbabweans,” she said.
“It is clear that most of these relationships are controlled by the lure of the ‘greenbacks’, so who pays the piper calls the tune and our dear brothers are sacrificed at the altar of ‘good life’,” said another Harare-based social commentator, Dr Tawanda Maringwa.
Dr Maringwa said Government should put a proper legal framework to ensure that sexual offenders are not allowed into the country.
“Perverts must not be let loose at our historical tourism sites which they desecrated with their anti-social deeds according to our local standards of conformity.
“The lure of the greenback should, however, not be allowed to destroy our moral and social fabric.”
Matebeleland North Police spokesperson Sergeant Eglon Nkala said the Police were unaware of such developments but they will definitely act since the force cannot tolerate international prostitution.
“Whilst we agree that tourism is a major contributor to the fiscus, we will definitely move in if it is found that such immoral acts are certainly taking place,” he said.
Sex tourism is big business mostly in countries with attractive tourist resorts and has become a lucrative business in most West African countries and also the Asiatic countries like Thailand, which is well known as the preferred destination for paedophiles.