By Ihechukwu Njoku
“I was very angry with every kind of man, anyone that called himself a man… It’s only that I could not manage to hunt and kill them but my desire was to use any weapon to kill men – because one of them killed me. Inside me, I said to myself, ‘I will never tell them my status. Whoever comes to me, I will finish him. The way they infected me, I must infect them also.’ I don’t know how many men I infected but they are thousands.”
This is the true-life, shocking story of Francis, a prostitute who spent 18 of her 32 years on earth in the sex trade, sleeping with up to six men daily in the major cities of Tanzania and Namibia. It chronicles her diabolical form of revenge after discovering she was HIV/AIDS Positive in 2006 and her remarkable turnaround at an unlikely destination in Lagos, Nigeria
Growing up in a rural village in Tanzania, the thrills of ‘city life’ grew increasingly more attractive for Francis, a fourteen year old who hated school and was notoriously rebellious. Striking a plan with friends, she abandoned school one fateful day and set out for Dar Es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital, leaving her home and family behind.
“When we reached the city, I found a lot of girls who were older than me who were in this business of prostitution,” Francis explained. “They introduced me how to behave in order to seduce men and get clients.” Two years down the line aged 16, the young girl was already pregnant for an unknown father. Attempts to abort the child through native concoctions all failed and she resolved to return home to have her child.
However, the desire to prostitute continued even after giving birth. “I was even prostituting when I was breastfeeding and eventually, my mum took the child away from me.” Francis immediately returned to the city, linking back up with her group. Four years later, Francis’ mum sent a message to her that a family relative was willing to take her to Namibia to save the family from shame and get her out of the ‘mess’. She eventually agreed.
“When I reached Namibia, I felt I was imprisoned. I couldn’t go to clubs, smoke, drink or meet men – which is what I wanted to do.” Fighting her aunt daily, she eventually threw Francis out of her home. “It was celebration for me that I can go back to the same lifestyle. I already made a group of friends that were prostituting… They introduced me to the area where I could hunt for men and sleep with them.”
Living a lavish and promiscuous life on the streets of Windhoek, Namibia, Francis had lost all touch with her family. ‘Business’ was booming due to the influx of foreign workers in the city who would regularly patronise her and also introduced her to hard drugs. However, the consequences of her actions were about to catch up on her.
“In 2006, I discovered that I was pregnant again. I didn’t know the father because I was sleeping with five or six men a day – I just wanted money to enjoy,” she recounted. Encouraged by a fellow prostitute not to abort, Francis visited a hospital when the pregnancy reached six months where they conducted several tests. “That is when I discovered I was HIV/AIDs positive.” Shock. Bitterness. Rage. Emotions ran wild within the heart of the young sex-worker. “There was this voice that said – ‘Now, it’s better you die!’ ”
Knowing that death was close, the embittered prostitute resolved to take as many men as possible along with her. “I cannot count how many men I have infected. If any man told me we should use a condom, I would tell him, ‘Look at how I look? I cannot have such a disease.’ So, the man would end up trusting me. They are thousands.”
Francis expanded her ‘business’ horizons via the internet, particularly using the dating social network ‘Eskimi’. It was in 2013 that she encountered a Nigerian man while looking for a more ‘serious’ relationship. “The man became attracted to me and asked for my contact details. He told me he wanted to come to Namibia and visit me.” When the Nigerian arrived, the couple forged a relationship, culminating in Francis falling pregnant. She did not divulge her health status.