Dating older men has become the cool thing among many young career women and college girls. Two of them shared their experience with the Star of six years with male 'sponsors'.
The phenomenon itself has long existed before this generation, but the term 'sponsor' was introduced recently to refer to older men who date young women and give them money.
One does not necessarily have to have an intimate relationship with a girl for him to be considered a sponsor, but one automatically becomes a sponsor once he gives money to a girl for whatever reason, be it for rent, upkeep, hair, nails, rent, tuition or even partying.
In most cases, a sponsor is often someone’s husband, who is bound to leave the beneficiary for his family when all is said and done.
Those who have embraced the habit of having a sponsor get money and in return his dry bones get to creak under her caressing care, and he gets rejuvenated by her youthful warmth.
He can pay her rent in a decent apartment, buy her jewellery, take her places she only reads about in magazines or use his position to get her a job.
Fauzia, 23, and Wambui, 24, have openly decided to share their life in the city of Nairobi, which is well taken care of by having sponsors in their lives.
How did it all begin for Fauzia?
"My parents died and I had two siblings who were still in school, whom I had to take care of as well as educate them as the big sister," she said.
"I am a Muslim and because of my religion, I was forced into marriage before even completing my school. The marriage was not successful because we did not know each other and we were just brought together by our parents. The guy became abusive and I decided to leave his place together with my children. Remember I also had my siblings and my aunts don't even recognise us.
"The only option I had due to the challenges I was facing then was to look for a man in a dating site. That was my first sponsor I would say in my life.
"I have three sponsors, one whom I got from the dating site and the other two, I got from a bar. We exchanged phone numbers and the rest is history."
Wambui, on the other hand, said she has come from far.
"I came from a very humble background, and I was raised by a single mother," she said. "Unlike long ago, when sponsors were said to be above 50 years, I have two sponsors; one who pays rent, and the other one pays school fees for my kid. One is 32 years and the other one 38 years.
"I have a deadbeat baby daddy who does not even know where his child lives or what he feeds on. The reason I can't date young men is because he (baby daddy) was a young man and ran away after three months; he abandoned us.
"My life with a sponsor started with my neighbour's husband, who noticed I was having a problem and he started taking care of me and my baby by even buying medicine for my child. who was diagnosed with leukemia. He told me to let him know when I have a problem. That was how we started."
Dating a sponsor is a full-time job, complete with deliberate ground rules, like not calling at certain hours. He is the man a woman would save as ‘Mzee wa Stima’ on her phone.
"I don't fear anything because when you are dating a married man, there are limitations he will put," Fauzia explains.
First, you are not supposed to call him at night but just send him a message. You are also not supposed to expose yourself to his wife.
"I am not supposed to call him when he says he is home. If his wife learns about you, don't look for the wife to quarrel her because he (sponsor) will go away," she says.
As for selfie lovers, you are not supposed to take photos with his phone. Wambui says, "If am videoing in his car, he should not be seen with me. I can be seen in those big hotels but not him, his number plates should also not be seen."
Fauzia added: "I have been having sponsors for six years now and I can't stay without them in my life, it is adventurous. I can't date a young man because they will limit money for me. Right now I just call and I get what I want.
"It is fine for me because I am happy and living without fear. I use PrEP (a pill taken by negative people to protect them from contracting HIV), although I also use protection just in case of condom burst."
DIVISION OF ROLES
Regarding the potential of clashes, Fauzia said: "I make sure I schedule all my sponsors such that they cannot met. I meet one and lie to the other that I have gone for a business trip.
"The life that I am living you cannot live without. It is fun and adventure. I have three sponsors. One pays my Sh12,000 rent and does my shopping monthly. The second one pays school feels for my sister and the third is for travelling, and he is the most frequent one I meet. As a lady, I don't allow them come to the house. They shop for me and drop the shopping then we go and hang out outside Nairobi because they are all married and their wives are within."
The two women said they are content living with sponsors, and they don't regret, so long as they abide by the wishes of the sponsors.
"We admire to have our own husbands, but when the guy comes and tells me his wife is complaining that she is not getting enough money, then I think sticking with sponsors is the best," Wambui said.
"For those who have parents, make sure you work hard, and for those who don't have parents and have sponsors, be safe, follow their limits."
Girls who have lost their lives while allegedly dating so-called sponsors include:
The 26-year-old university student was killed on September 3 in Homa Bay county. Migori Governor Okoth Obado has been charged with her murder. He denies the charges.
She was found murdered alongside the then IEBC ICT official Chris Msando in July last year. They had been reported missing on July 28.
The 25-year-old university student died in June 2011. Her body was found dumped on Waiyaki Way, Nairobi.
She had attended a party at Wasini Luxury Homes on Church Road, Westlands, about 100m from where her body was found. A governor has denied involvement in the case.