Social media floors politicians

It’s an age-old phenomenon where older men are attracted to much younger women.

Relationship experts across the globe agree that a man showing up at an important event, with a young flame on his arm, is considered to be cool or an accomplishment.

Apparently, it makes them feel young and desirable again – and they get to take on youthful activities again.

The theory is that young women are looking for security, maturity, sophistication and class in such men. Where coffee shops, dingy bars and libraries were the meeting places of these pairs – it’s become so much easier in the social media era.

A simple direct message (DM) can send a man into a frenzy when a sexy young thing flirts with him.

And that’s when heated sexting begins. And thanks to this, the nations has been enthralled by tidbits between Mineral Resources and Energy
Minister Gwede Mantashe, also known as Tiger, and his side-chick Lerato Makgatho. Social media expert, Emma Sadleir, said in an interview with LeAnne Manas that sexting is “incredibly stupid”. She said it’s dangerous because when things turn sour and private messages are shared with the public, it often becomes ugly – with some people trying to commit suicide because of the embarrassment.

Sexting is just like porn as it is intended to stimulate erotic feelings, she said, warning that through social media, nudes and intimate videos are the new social currency – not just among teens, but also adults. She sighted the example of Malusi Gigaba, saying if he didn’t have his face and private parts in the same video (recorded privately), his reputational damage wouldn’t have been as severe.

“Prevention is better than cure,” said Sadleir.

Gigaba later claimed the video, meant for his wife, was hacked and used to extort money from him. But in 2015, he also made headlines when Buhle Mkhize wrote an open letter and posted it on social media. She detailed her alleged affair with the then Home Affairs minister.

She claimed the flirting started through Instagram messenger service, which led to calls and text messages.

But as much as we find these salacious texts entertaining to view, there is a thin line between what is interesting to the public and what serves public interest.

As in the case of President Cyril Ramaphosa, where a woman sent a porn video of herself to Ramaphosa. Sadleir said during the dirty tricks campaign, a media organisation published the video, leading the woman to get an urgent interdict to have the content removed.


An international study by Slater and Gordon also found that sliding into someone’s DMs is not always innocent and that social media was
sighted as a major cause of divorce. To avoid becoming a victim, watch who likes and comments on your posts often, friends who send inappropriate inboxes, and the desire to rename your contacts using code names.

The latter, according to relationship experts, is a warning sign that you intend to be unfaithful. Flirty messages in your inbox or WhatsApp private messages are never without repercussions.

By Somaya Stockenstroom

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