how sexual predators groom targets

How sexual predators groom victims [Gomora]

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I knew a couple of sexual predators — true story. Just like Miss Manzi, these predators were  school teachers and the technique of grooming targets is exactly the same. I knew real life sexual predators, except back then my teenaged eyes were too naïve to see, too trusting to identify them for what they were; predators, perverted hunters let loose in the halls of education.

Gladys mourns Mohato

Perhaps it is extra sensory perception that exists between siblings, even though Mohato is presumed missing, Gladiator already senses the worst. Gladys Dlamini – real name Thembi Seete – was all tears after she received a text message from Mohato’s phone number. He is not the sort of person to send text messages, he usually calls. And this is the reason for Gladys’ suspicion. But how did we get here?

A fake trail

With Detective Mahlasela – real name Kabelo Moalusi – growing extremely suspicious of Mam Sonto, due to Sdumo’s loose lips, Gomora’s queen of carjacking needed to redirect the stubborn cop elsewhere. With daughter Thathi remaining friendly with the new cop, Sonto was always a step ahead, owing to the snippets of information that Mahlasela unwittingly leaked to Thathi.

Sonto threatened to kill Sdumo if he did not recant his first testimony which had aroused the cops’ suspicion. And to make herself look even more innocent, Sonto paid a woman to pose as Mohato’s girlfriend. In exchange for a fat brown envelope, the woman, aptly named Thembeka, told the police that Mohato owed R50,000 to a loan shark named Cobra. To dodge this debt, Mohato fled Alex township.

Apart from inventing a girlfriend for Mohato, Sonto and Thathi sent Gladys a valedictory text message from Mohato’s cellphone which they had found in the garage, the place where he breathed his last breath. Incidentally, do you know that Mohato is the second man (after Mbongeni) to die on Thathi’s lap. Legs will kill you!


With the testimony of Mohato’s fake girlfriend, together with the goodbye text sent to Gladys, Detective Mahlasela (real name Kabelo Moalusi) had no option but to close the case. But even after putting the lid on the Mohato file, Mahlasela whispered to Sonto, “I’m still coming for you”.


It sounds like the cop had a vendetta against Sonto from the moment he walked into Alexandra. You might remember that Sonto gagged the previous detective through blackmail just as she was inches from putting her behind bars for Mbongeni’s death. You have to wonder if there is a connection between the blackmailing of Detective Kolisi and Mahlasela’s loathing for Sonto.

When predators are prey

Ever since her introduction at Gomora Secondary School, business studies teacher, Miss Manzi – real name Sihle Ndaba – has caused quite a stir especially among the senior boys. During lessons, most of the boys could not contain their lustful urges. Ntokozo, who regards “Sis Manzi” as an older sister was left to defend her virtue, not just from the catcalling pupils but also Teddy – real name Sicelo Buthelezi – who has a crush on the new teacher.

Fed up with the sexualisation, Miss Manzi finally lashed out at the boys who were making smutty jokes behind her back. She reminded them that their actions were tantamount to sexual harassment. I would feel sorry for Miss Manzi but, while she was screaming sexual harassment, with the very same lips, she was slowly luring Teddy into a sticky web from which no hormonal boy can escape.

After Teddy’s daydream of sleeping with Ma’am Manzi, he seemed resigned to being just her student, with no funny business involved. She had specifically told the boys to stop objectifying her. But at every opportunity, Miss Manzi kept laying her hands on Teddy, hand on the knee, hand on the arm. On the surface it seemed innocent, but Teddy was confused.

That’s when I recognized the signs of a predator grooming her target.


“We don’t feel safe”

When Miss Manzi’s trouble with the boys reached Melusi Dlamini’s ears, he had a sit down with his old friend. Melusi was worried that if the boys cannot respect a grown woman, they might even behave more badly around girls of their own age. Assisted by Miss Manzi, Principal Dlamini had a chat with the older girls. That’s when he discovered the level of sexual harassment going on in his school.

Later, Principal Dlamini – real name Zolisa Xaluva – spoke to the senior boys. At the end of the meeting, Teddy suggested that the boys walk the girls home to protect them from further abuse. Imagine that, because some parents forgot to teach their sons to respect women, Teddy must now become Gomora’s policeman.

Teddy fails the test

Miss Manzi ambushed her grade 11 business studies class with a spot test. When she gave Ntokozo and Teddy few minutes warning, she promised “something tasty” to the top student. This sounded like a caring teacher giving incentive to her pupils but it was the eye contact with Teddy which suggested innuendo.

Langa scored 84% and did a celebratory dance which somehow reminds me of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of BelAir. Ntokozo got a perfect score – 100%. Sadly, Teddy flunked.

To help him improve, Manzi gave Teddy extra lessons. Before the lessons began, she gave him a pep talk at the end of which she hugged him. It seemed an innocent enough hug, until her hands dropped to Teddy’s bum!

Justice for Mbongeni?

A group of children was playing soccer on a vlei when one of them discovered a loaded gun. The pistol ended up on Detective Mahlasela’s desk. A ballistics test revealed – drum roll – the gun is the same weapon used to kill Mbongeni Ndaba, Thathi’s husband.

Is Miss Manzi a sexual predator?

I knew real life sexual predators — true story. Just like Miss Manzi, these predators were high school teachers.

Sexual predators – just like lions hunting – are expert at identifying easy prey. Lions can spot a sick animal or one with a limp. There is nothing random about their hunting strategy. Sexual predators spot the loner among school children, the one who is low on self esteem, that is the easy prey. They offer themselves as saviour and, naturally, their target feels somewhat honoured to have been chosen. They gradually ease their target into sexual contact, just like Miss Manzi is doing with Teddy.


First came the nipple graze, then the hand on knee contact, the embrace which ended in a bum grope, accidentally on purpose. By the time a sexual predator pounces, their target has long been prepped.

After weeks of grooming, finally Miss Manzi steered the conversation, during a break in “private lessons”, to the topic of love. When Teddy revealed that he was a virgin, she saw her opportunity. She sat on his lap and whispered wine scented words about “teaching him many things.” She rose from his lap and went upstairs in a manner which suggested that she expected Teddy to follow him. Even though Teddy is perceived as slow… he caught on quickly and followed. This time, Teddy was not day dreaming.

Till next week, my pen is capped



Gomora airs weekdays at 7:30pm on Mzansi Magic and is available on Showmax

Images from Twitter


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