Sowetan doesn’t shake-up sugar daddies

  • Kim Johnson - 23 November 2012

Sowetan’s uncritical coverage of the launch of a new dating website, which will help sugar daddies and “sugar babies” meet forgets that intergenerational sex has been identified as one of the drivers of South Africa’s HIV epidemic.

Much like the first articles to cover the launch of the Ashley Madison website in SA, Sowetan failed to consider what a website which facilitates sugar daddy relationships might mean in the South African context.

Despite having previously reported on the sugar daddy phenomenon, Sowetan didn’t use this awareness to inform the article on new dating website Aluxxa.com, which recently launched in South Africa.

According to the 2010 UNAIDS Global Report, a whopping 13.6 percent of South Africa's women aged between 15 and 24 are living with HIV (this is in comparison to 4.5 percent of men in the same age group).

Intergenerational sex, particularly between financially stable older men and younger financially bereft women, is a risk factor in HIV infection.

However the Sowetan didn’t factor this in, using only Aluxxa’s public relations material to produce their report.

Despite the Aluxxa spokesperson endorsing outright the unequal power relations that have put Aluxxa.com in business (which in turn contribute to the high HIV prevalence among young women in SA), Sowetan did not even attempt to fill in context that would provide readers with the full picture.

Providing this context need not be a time consuming exercise for journalists facing down a deadline.

In this case, a sentence at the end of the article mentioning that intergenerational sex has been identified as a driver of the HIV epidemic among young women would have sufficed.

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“Sowetan failed to consider what a website which facilitates sugar daddy relationships might mean in the South African context”