UKZN graduate dispels myths around 'blesser-blessee' relationships

Nomazulu Singata who graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal conducted a study aimed at understanding ‘blesser-blessee’ relationships through the perspectives and experiences of students.

Image: © Oleg Elkov /123rf

JOHANNESBURG - So-called blesser-blessee relationships are said to be a social phenomenon that sees wealthy men and poorer women in relationships for material gain.

Nomazulu Singata, who graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, conducted a study aimed at understanding these relationships through the perspectives and experiences of students.

Singata explored students' attitudes towards those relationships, the reasons for engaging in them, and the opportunities and constraints for changing such relationships.

The research underscored the relation between the two parties, which often stemmed from female students’ personal difficult circumstances such as poverty, unemployment, peer pressure and gender inequality.

“These structures have an impact on their [female students] ability to make their own decisions,” said Singata.

“The relationships ultimately produce their own structures, which can be both positive [financial needs and education] and negative. The negative [can] lead to gender-based violence as well as health issues that impact on the ‘blessee’s’ agency.”

The graduate hoped society would look at the impacts of this issue on students' lives, as well as the causes within these structures and reasoning behind becoming a "blessee". She believes that focusing on the reasons and finding solutions for the issues could prevent these often-unequal relationships from developing.

“Those sleepless nights have paid off, and I now realise that all my hard work was not in vain. It also feels exciting because I have become a positive statistic as a young black female moving towards her PhD,” said Singata.

Singata said her master’s degree was an achievement that opened doors for her academically and professionally. She planned to give back to her community by opening her own environmental consulting company.

Manyoni was one of 10,313 graduates awarded degrees and diplomas during the 2021 UKZN Autumn virtual graduation ceremony held last week.

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