Sex tourism is booming in the resort town of Vic Falls.
“Some of the white women come here just to have sex with black men that they meet in hotels, restaurants and clubs. And most of them are successful as only a few men can resist sex. In any case, most black men have dreams of sleeping with a white woman,” said a Victoria Falls hotel employee.
In an interview, a tour guide confirmed that Victoria Falls receives its fair share of female sex tourists. He revealed that most of them are intrigued by stereotypical beliefs that black African males are blessed with unparalleled sexual prowess and that they are gifted below the belt.
He said: “I once asked one white woman why she doesn’t target black men in her country and she told me that she wants a pure black man who is in touch with his African roots and she doesn’t want her friends and relatives to know that she is into black men because they wouldn’t approve.”
The tour guide added that some female sex tourists do it because it makes them feel dominant. They achieve this dominance by using money.
A taxi driver disclosed that female sex tourism in Victoria Falls is done covertly because of the stigma that would follow if it becomes known that the men sell sex to female sex tourists.
“Most of the women I have seen with our brothers are ugly and fat and most of the men are younger than the women so it’s obvious that the men are attracted by the money that these women have. The other noticeable thing is that most of the men I have seen will be spotting dreadlocks.”
This perception is supported by a University of Illinois report which stated that some women who engaged in risky sexual behaviour while travelling said that “they felt freed from sexual double standards at home”, and hoped to “feel like a man” by having a one-night stand — no strings attached sex.
A female tourist from England, who identified herself as Leeshel, confirmed that some female tourists come to Africa and in this case, Zimbabwe, just for sex.
“I am not into that but I have friends and relatives who want to have sex in every country they visit. I don’t see anything wrong with that because they are adults, they can act anyway they want. I don’t judge but I don’t do that because I am afraid of Aids,” Leeshel said.
Leeshel let slip that her friends, who are into sex tourism, told her that it is easier to get men in Zimbabwe because most of the men are literate.
“In other African countries the language barrier poses a problem but here everyone speaks passable English. That makes flirting easy and the women avoid that awkward moment when they have to use gestures to show the men that they want to spend time with them,” she said.
Leeshel added that female sex tourists are aware that they have to shower the African men with money and gifts in order to get the happy ending they desire.
“Most of my friends want to feel special and they see Africa as a romantic get-away but the African men see the relationship as a commercial exchange. They (female sex tourists) are aware that they are being used for money but it’s a quid pro quo arrangement because they get the attention and sex they crave in return.
“But it’s not like they come here and say to the men ‘hey, come here I have money, let’s have sex.’ They are savvier than that. They are aware that the exchange of money makes it prostitution and it (prostitution) is illegal here. So they have to be careful and selective,” she said.
Kenyan academic and author of Sex Tourism in Africa, Kenya’s Booming Industry, Dr Wanjohi Kibicho cements Leeshel’s suggestion that most female sex tourists use sex as a way to feel special.
“These women are lonely. Among all the women I talked to, there is an impression of something lacking at home, like their needs are not being met — not only sexual, but also psychological and emotional support,” said Dr Kibicho.