Zimbabwe: Being gay in Zim: A male sex worker opens up on choice

For Munashe, now 29 years old, it was not because he was looking for a ticket to his next meal as is usually the case in such circumstances; he simply wanted a cellphone.

He had watched some of his friends browsing from one application to the other at school — and because his parents could not get him one — he decided to get one for himself.

“It is not like I was forced into sex work. I have always known that I was different, but I didn’t really know that I was gay. It was at the age of 11, that I knew I was attracted to other boys. So it was my friends who told me that they could help me if I wanted a cellphone. It was just this teenage excitement of having fun. My parents who were on separation looked after me quite well and I do not blame them for the decisions I made that time when I was young,” Munashe said.

“It was then I started getting into relationships with other males. The challenge for me that time as young as I was; was not being able to negotiate for safe sex. I was living in a small town and I was not empowered enough to seek medical care. How would I approach the nurses and tell them that I was suffering from a sexually transmitted infection? I would let it heal by itself.” Read more via the Independent