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.
After giving birth, Francis had a bout of guilt and visited a pastor at Christ Embassy Church to confess her sins. “After confessing to the pastor, who is also a Nigerian, he met the father of my child and asked if he really knew me. He told him, ‘This girl confessed to me that she is HIV/AIDS Positive.’ ” Francis’ Nigerian lover fainted upon hearing the news and was rushed to hospital.
After recovering, he ‘ran away’ from her, moving to Angola. However, their young baby was nearing the age of nine months. Francis was desperate. Her finances were stagnant and she was tired of prostitution. After pleading with the Nigerian, a settlement was eventually reached. “He said the only thing he would do for me was to give me money to go to Nigeria and drop the child with his parents.”
Some weeks earlier, a friend had introduced Francis to a Christian television station which was gaining increasing popularity in Namibia. It was Emmanuel TV, the station of Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua. Seizing the opportunity to visit Nigeria, Francis decided to visit the famous church in Lagos after she had dropped off her son. “When I arrived in Lagos, they put me in a car and took me straight to a state called Enugu. I only stayed one week there. Then I had to search for The Synagogue.”
On Sunday 27th April 2014, Miss Francis sat gingerly in the huge auditorium of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos. It was the time of prayer from the ‘wise men’ and she was nervous. “Before the wise man came close, I felt like electricity dividing my body and I started shivering. I don’t know what happened when he prayed for me.” Francis received ‘deliverance’ from the ‘demon’ that pushed her to a life of prostitution.
The following week, Sunday 4th May 2014, Francis publicly gave her confession in the crowded church. “I am here to kneel down and ask the whole world, every man I encountered, to forgive me,” she tearfully said, explaining that after her ‘deliverance’ she began regretting her actions for the first time. She went further to send a poignant message to her fellow sex-workers. “There is no benefit in prostitution. The end of prostitution is bitterness and sorrow. I advise youth – if you are in the same situation I was in, let me be an example in your eyes. Drop that lifestyle immediately and seek the face of God.”
Francis stayed another week in the Nigerian church after which T.B. Joshua gave her the sum of $1,500 to restart her life in Namibia. “I will never return to prostitution. I am so grateful to God,” she concluded.
Ihechukwu Njoku – freelance Nigerian journalist