“I used to bed more than 300 men every year with most of my clients being long distance truck drivers who passed through this border post,” says 52-year-old Prudence Nyeke (not her real name), Chirundu border post’s “oldest” se_x worker.
With almost 20 years in the oldest profession mainly at Zimbabwean border with Zambia, Nyeke boasts that she has bedded nearly all male customs officials deployed at the border post.
She also brags about having been smuggled to almost all SADC countries by her clients.
But all that seem to have come to an end with clients now preferring younger competitors in the profession.
“Two decades ago, I was in demand. Ndaiwanikwa neatanga (I serviced my clients on a first come, first served basis),” says Nyeke, who refused to have her photograph taken claiming she did not want her family to know she was in the profession.
“I was young and beautiful. I knew how to play the game but that is now gone with age. I can no longer stand the competition.”
She takes pride in having been of use to civil servants who worked in the immigrations department.
“I think I have slept with all men working in the Customs and Immigration (department) except perhaps those who are newly deployed,” says Nyeke, who originally comes from Mashonaland West’s Magunje area.
To her, se_x life has not only given her some income to build a descent home for herself and children but has also come as a “passport” to her to travel to nearly all SADC countries.
“I have travelled to many countries within SADC with my clients who are truck drivers,” she said with a smile.
“And guess what; I have never had a travelling document in my life as truck drivers would smuggle me to different countries.
“My job was to provide se_xual services and would do this to my best, mindful that I was on foreign land and if I did not perform to my best, I risked being dumped there without any travelling documents.”
She adds, “I managed to buy a housing stand here at the border and have built my three bedroomed house.”
Nyeke is however dismayed age has made her unattractive to many clients, adding, “I often go for close to a whole month now without being hired.”
She admits being lured to offer unprotected se_x by clients who demanded having it without cond0ms in exchange for more money.
“Zvakaoma mufunge (it’s a cruel world),” she says, “Most of the time, you would be desperate for money and you find yourself being offered good money to sleep with a client without a cond0m.”
“That’s how I got infected with se_xually transmitted diseases many times.”
Nyeke, who separated with her husband some 30 years ago, refused to reveal her HIV status saying this has been a secret even to her children.
Apart from her regrets about the profession, Nyeke also shares the lighter moments about her different clients in the countries she has visited.
She has a lot of praise for Zimbabwean men she feels have a much more caring hand than the rest.
“Local truck drivers treat you as if you are their real wife especially when they take you beyond the borders,” she says.
“Sometimes with such good treatment, I would often believe they were thinking of marrying me when we got back to Zimbabwe.”
Nyeke feels men from the DRC were more industrious when it came to se_x.
“Congolese men havarare (they don’t spare time to break from the act). It would always be one round after another.
“Malawian men do not fail to negotiate for lower rates and sometimes want it for free.
“South Africans and Zambians just pay for one round and they are done with you while Batswana men are very lazy, the Angolans are rough and tough.”
But all that is now a thing of the past as she has now thought of retiring into selling some cold bottled water to the same clients within the sweltering heat of Chirundu.