How my mother turned me into a “high class prostitute” in Bamenda

photo used only for illustrative purpose

Dear Kinnaka’s blog,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to reach out to the people I have hurt and the homes I have destroyed. I am a 31-year-old woman based in Douala and this is my story. 

I grew up in Bamenda as an only child with my mother who told me my father passed away before I was born. She fed and clothed us from the money she made out of her roasted fish business.  When I was younger, she would leave me at our neighbours house and go out to roast fish and sell them. I started helping her at the age of 15 and that same year we started selling fried potatoes and eggs too. Business was going well but then I started noticing something. My mother started randomly disappearing every night when we were out selling and only returning hours later. Some days she would tell me to pack up things and go home. This got me very worried, especially as the business was our only source of income. 

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On day after school my mother told me to go straight to bed and rest as I would be delivering fish to a hotel (name withheld) some miles away from our one bed room flat. I wanted to to ask her why the customer couldn’t come and get the fish and why I needed to rest to deliver fish but my mother gave me that “don’t argue with me” look and I just went ahead and slept. That night my mother asked me to wear my best clothes and gave me fish and some round small tablet to take. I got to the hotel around 9:00pm and told the receptionist I wanted to deliver fish to Mr Oben (real name withheld). The receptionist gave me his room number and told me to go there and give it to him myself as he was expecting me. I knocked at the door and a man in his 50s opened the door and asked me to come in. He told me to put the fish on the table and sit on the bed. I told him I had to go back home as my mother was expecting me and he smiled and told me to sit on the bed.  He asked me if I ever done this before, I thought he meant delivering fish to a hotel, so I said no.  He smiled again and sat next to me then said he would be gentle. At this point I was confused but before i could say anything his hand was already on my small perky breast and his lips on my lips. I was horrified and tried to push him away but he leaned and pushed me on my back and then got on top of me. At this point everything was happening so fast, I felt a sharp pain between my legs and something thrusting inside me. I was in tears, kicking and screaming. The more I fought him the more he seem to be enjoying himself. I closed my eyes, prayed and begged him to stop and suddenly he did. I got up from the bed and saw blood all over the bed. Mr Oben was on the bed with a very satisfied look on him face. I straightened my clothes, I wanted to walk home but every step I too left me in agony so I got into a taxi and went home.  

I was surprised to see my mother home when I got home. She wasn’t out selling fish as usual. The seemed relieved when I walked through the door. I immediately started crying and told her of my encounter with Mr Oben. To my greatest surprise my mother told me I wasn’t a child anymore and should stop acting like one! I was in shock! She told me how I thought she had been able to keep a roof over our heads and pay my school fees.  I cried and cried and stopped talking to her until two weeks later when I was sent home due to unpaid fees. When I got home and told my mother she told me I was big enough to pay my own fees since I don’t want to listen or talk to her. After three days of not being in school I went to my mother and told her I was sorry and will start listening to her. 

My mother bought me new and very revealing clothes. She took me to a Nigerian woman in Bamenda Main Market and told her she wanted her to make me a “yellow sisi”. The woman mixed a boil of lotion and gave it us. My mother started giving me lessons of how men love light skinned women and I should never fall in love with any man. She told me my only goal in seeing any man should be about money. I was not allowed in the sun anymore as my mother told me it will ruin my skin and my skin was a big part of my beauty. I remember going to school late and a teach whipped me on my back with a cane and left marks. When I got home my mother was very angry and told me I wasn’t going back to that school again. She promised to put me in a different school. Most of the schools we went to told my mother it was already the second term and they didn’t want to take in any new student who might bring down their GCE percentage. That was the end of my education as my mother just gave up. 

Every night I will “deliver” fish to hotels in Bamenda. Sometimes 3 times in one night and in different hotels. The men seemed to love me and so my mother changed the roles and the circle of men. Our target became only business men, Mayors, SDOs and Governors. My mother asked me to take driving lessons. One night she came home very excited and told me we had a big fish. A minister had come into town and someone told him about me so he wanted to see me. I went to his hotel met him and we spent the weekend together then he went back to Yaounde. He became my main client and we would see each other every time he had hard something to do in Bamenda, he also invited me frequently to Yaounde and after 3 months together he bought me a car. He wanted me to drop all the other men and only see him alone so I did and at the end of that year he bought myself and my mother a 4 bedroom house. We were together for a year and a half then his wife found out and asked him to choose between me and her and she choose her and I never heard from him again. 

That same year he left, my went a lot darker as my cream wasn’t working on me anymore. I started being ill all the time and had a weird rash coming out all over my body. I bought drugs from the streets but the fever and sores on my lips wouldn’t go away so I decided to go to the hospital. I was told at the Bamenda General Hospital that I was HIV positive and from the looks of things it had been there for a while.  My world stopped around me! I went home and told my mother and she looked me in the eye and asked me to leave her house. I was shocked and told her no and said the house was mine because it was gifted to me by “my man”. She then threatened to tell everybody if I did not leave in a week. 

That night I tried to take away my own life and our neighbour found me and took me to the hospital where I was given counselling and told that HIV is not a death sentence, that I could live as long as anyone else if I stayed away from certain things and lived as healthily as possible. When I was discharged from the hospital took my car to a local garage and put ti for sale. Immediately the car was sold I left Bamenda for Douala. An old friend let me stay in her apartment with her until I found my own place. The money I got from the car finished too quickly as everything in Douala was really expensive and I had no source of income. 

I started going around the city looking for a job as a shop girl. One night on my way back from job hunting two men followed me to my one bedroom flat raped me repeatedly and took all the money, my gas bottle, gas plate and TV. When they left I made a promise to myself to give any living man my body and the HIV. The next night I was in the streets of Douala looking for a victim. My mother taught me well because that night I found a truck driver and we went back to his hotel and had unprotected sex all night. I did that everyday different men except when I was on my periods still last year when my HIV became full blown AIDS. 

Doctors say I don’t have much time left. I let my mother ruin my life. I know I have hurt countless families. I am sorry and I hope God forgives me. Please learn from my story young girls. Don’t end up in my situation chasing money. I am now a born again Christian and my pastor is in the process of making peace between me and my mother so that I can return home and spend my last few months or maybe years, if I am lucky with her. 

God bless you all for reading.

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  1. This story makes me think of alot of issues in Cameroon that we don't seem to address and that includes the fact that there seems to be no consequencies whatsoever for having sex with a minor in Cameroon, Child prostitution goes unpunished because the victims do not have any form of support to help prosecute offenders in this case her mother, Stigmatization of people living with HIV we spend to much time talking about how not to catch the disease and little or no time talking about what to do in case you catch this disease. Stigmatization of rape victims we need to start talking about all this things when it comes to keeping our women safe in Cameroon we are falling behind in protecting them.

  2. Oh Lord thanks for his redemption. Focus on God's grace and he will restore 120%
    It's rather unfortunate I met a lady who told me am blessed . Her Mum was forcing her to be high class prostitute.
    Others r also initiated by giving you baits. They start giving you gifts of their exploits then abruptly stop tell you to go and chase men also.
    Only love can solve and poverty is really a bastard.
    The fact that women r treated as objects is the bottom line issue.
    God Bless!

  3. It almost sounds like someone imagined that story and posted it to kinaka. May God mercy come upon that family. That young girl mother is a selfish woman. I pray she repents. I remember my difficult years in Yaounde. I refused to be like other girls. I sold bottles, I taught in evening schools, I looked for internships, I picked up broken electrical appliances from trash heaps and sold…and my students witnessed it all. Where were my parents? They were close by, but they told me that no legit struggle was no good. Despite the negative influence of some parents young girls need to stand up for themselves in the legit way…no matter how humiliating. It always pays off. Mine paid off. people out there, be good role models in the society so that struggling young people can focus on your legit path of success to withstand temptation. Be part of the solution in their lives. Buy fish and leave the change sometimes so because that one night will spare someone from prostitution

  4. For all of you men who can't keep your pen*is in your pants CHEERS this is a good lesson for you.Don't forget to do your HIV test.For you married women who think you must stay with your husband after he has cheated on you well na your double badluck.

  5. Some people would come here and say this story is a lie.Na wuna sabi.Fowl weh e deny for hear advice go follow corpse enter grave.Keep living in denial.I dong tok my own.


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