That wristband on your child's wrist could mean more than just a fashion statement. While the bands are just a fashion accessory at face value, some teenagers, especially those on teen chat network Mxit, have taken the bands’ meaning to the whole new level.
They have taken to making use of these bands as a sign of sexual activities, ranging from just a hug to oral sex and even full blown intercourse.
This puts the life of these teens, especially girls who are often more vulnerable, at great risk. It also opens a way for paedophiles to lure them for sex and even rape.
The wristbands are sold on the streets in different colours ranging from blue, black, green, glittery green, pink, orange, purple, glittery purple, red, yellow, glittery yellow and white.
They cost as little as R5, and are selling like chocolates - so popular that vendors selling them have to restock them every day.
What happens is: the teenagers organise to meet at a certain place. After being persuaded, and these meeting are often orchestrated by teenage males, a girl agrees to meet and have sexual intercourse or oral sex with the boy.
The different colours are a sign of particular sexual activities that the contact (usually a female teen) is willing or able to do when they meet.
Pink is good old teenage favourite, love bite, whoever is wearing this colour will give another one a love bite
Orange is the colour of kiss
While purple is both of them will be kissing
Red, which is only for the girls means she is willing to do or perform a lap dance
Yellow is just a hug
A white band means the wearer will flash whatever is asked, be it breasts, vagina or the buttocks.
While glittery purple is French kissing, and the kiss-and-hug wristband is glittery yellow, there are a range of colours that mean far more serious sexual activity - and the chances that it is without protection is very high.
The wristbands’ rules are strictly adhered to, anyone who breaks the rules is immediately removed as an Mxit friend or contact.
This is scary if you consider how many colours there are out there and what the addition of even one colour would mean, because when it comes to teenagers, possibilities are unlimited.
Siyabonga Nkonzo, an 18 year old grade 11 learner who’s been using Mxit for two years says he is not aware of a wristband representing safe sex. “I organised to meet with a contact (girl) at the Grand Parade in town, we had been chatting since I started using Mxit, she lost her phone, but when she bought a new one, we hooked up again. We agreed would wear a purple wristband as we’d become good friends on Mxit.”
Thembisa, a grade 9 learner in a township school says she knows about the wristbands, but will never use them personally, “this wristbands thing is mainly used by users in private schools or schools in town. I only chat with the people I already know and my one boyfriend.
Sometimes they wear certain colour clothes as well, instead of a wristband, as a sign of what s/he might be or is willing to do,” she says.
STI's and safer sex
(Siphiwo Nkonki, Health24, August 2011)