Unmasking Kigali's “gold diggers”

When you started out, you felt it was true love. You held hands, gazed into each other’s eyes and canoodled without a care in the world.

When you started out, you felt it was true love. You held hands, gazed into each other’s eyes and canoodled without a care in the world. As time went by, the random requests for airtime and money for the salon become more frequent. Then there were messages requesting for “top up on rent money” that seemed odd but it was okay. You were in love. 

However, the messages that used to flow with phrases like “I miss you” and “I love you” now had one only thing in common – money. If it wasn’t money to buy a new phone, it was money for a laptop or an outfit spotted in Mr. Price. The fact that they had never paid a single bill when you went out also left you puzzled. Before long, they had literally owned your ATM card.

Does this sound familiar? This behaviour is associated with “gold diggers.” A gold digger is a woman whose main reason for hooking up is so that she can gain material benefits from the person she’s dating.

However, it is argued that men too have slowly but surely joined the wagon, if the number of young men marrying women old enough to be their grandparents is anything to go by. Is it love or love for money?

Take Gisele Uwamahoro for example, who fell in love with a kind and decent man - at least she thought he was. It wasn’t until she noticed shady mannerisms that she realised he was more interested in her money than her heart.

“I met a handsome man two years back, fell head over heels in love with him, shared happy moments together like any loving couple would and when I met his family, I thought to myself, this could be it. I was wrong.

“A few months into the relationship, the man made excuses to get money from me saying that he had a lot of responsibilities and that his salary wasn’t enough. One time, he wanted to buy a piece of land and he asked me to get a loan on his behalf, after all, he was planning a future for the both of us. I accepted but I regret it deeply because we later broke up and I am still paying off the loan,” Uwamahoro narrates.

Uwamahoro says she now knows he was a gold digger who made her believe they had a future together just to extract money from her.

Uwamahoro is just one of the many people who have fallen prey to the merciless claws of gold diggers.


So why would someone with a heart pretend to love another yet in real sense they are after their money or other privileges?

26-year-old Shadia Umutesi has just completed university. She says loving someone for their money isn’t something to be proud of, but there is also a reason.

“I don’t believe in love because a good number of people aren’t faithful and that’s why some people love others for the benefits because the reality is, true love is no more. Loving a man because he can provide is easier than giving him your heart which will surely be broken,” Umutesi says.

Wilbur Bushara, a medical practitioner at Herna Medical Centre, disagrees and says that people who love others for their wealth are cowards and liars.

“I wouldn’t date a girl for her money because she would never respect me. And besides, I wouldn’t be in love with the person but rather her money. The truth is today’s relationships are material based, for example, you get someone but after you lose your job, she will dump you,” Bushara says.

He says that the percentage of people who love genuinely is low. “Girls are dating men fit to be their fathers and men date women close or older than their mothers all in the name of acquiring wealth.”

Bushara adds it would hurt if he got to know that a woman dated or married him for his money.

“Actually that’s why people are cautious about getting married, unless if the man has kids with the woman. In that case they will not lose much but imagine separating from a woman, and she takes half your money when she didn’t even have your kids, it hurts,” Bushara says.

Yves Ujeneza, a fresh graduate, is of the view that people who enter relationships because of money make love matters complicated as they are the reason some people stop believing in love.

He says that it’s not gracious to run after someone’s money; however, some people do it as a result of experiences they went through.

“Some do it as revenge because they were heartbroken in their previous relationships. Others have financial troubles which could be solved by dating or even marrying someone rich, though this doesn’t justify the action,” Ujeneza adds.

Josiane Kaneza is a married woman; she narrates her encounter with a guy who sucked her dry.

“I dated this guy, he was still a university student who had part time jobs but wasn’t financially stable, something I ignored because I was in love. He made me pay for his rent, food and I sometimes even took him shopping. I didn’t mind about all that because I thought he loved me.

“Reality hit me when I came to learn of the other girlfriends he had at campus and that’s when I realised that he was only into my money. Women should be aware that men too have become gold diggers,” Kaneza says.

Calling it quits with someone who played you for a fool would be the reasonable step to take, but what if that gold digger went as far as marrying you, hence gaining entitlement over your hard earned assets? That person would not only leave you with abroken heart, but also an empty account.


Mark Kananura got married to a woman he later found out was only after his money.

When his wife started changing just a few months into the marriage, suspicion arose because the things she did were evident that she didn’t love him.

“My wife started having affairs and made sure I got to know about them. She wanted me to ask for a divorce so that she could leave with her share. I resisted at first but later got tired of fighting. We are now in the process of divorce and she can take whatever she wants as long as she is out of my life,” Kananura says.

For one to take caution and protection of their property, Robert Mugabe, a lawyer based in Kigali, says that one should understand the content of the categories of matrimony before they agree to exchange vows.

He explains that, in Rwanda, only civil marriage is recognised under the law. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage.

“In Rwanda, there are three categories of matrimony, whatever the reason of marriage one has; marriage will depend on the regime of matrimony you chose with your spouse.

“Upon entering marriage, spouses shall choose one of the following matrimonial regimes, community of property; limited community of acquests or separation of property. In case no provision is made, the spouses shall be deemed to be married under the regime of community of property,” Mugabe explains.

The regime of community of property is a contract by which the spouses opt for a marriage settlement based on joint ownership of all their property-movable as well as immovable and their present and future charges.

The regime of limited community of acquests is a contract by which spouses agree to pool their respective properties owned on the day of marriage celebration, to constitute the basis of the acquests as well as the property acquired during marriage by a common or separate activity, donation, legacy or succession.

The regime of separation of property is a contract by which spouses agree to contribute to the expenses of the household in proportion to their respective abilities while retaining the right of enjoyment, administration and free disposal of their personal property.

Anyone can be a gold digger, male or female, rich or poor. Sometimes they will try to put on a show that they lost everything and are in a state of depression. According to wikiHow, gold diggers won’t let go of one relationship until they have a more lucrative one on the line.


How to spot a gold digger

Have you ever been suspicious that the person you are dating is more interested in your money than in you? If you are concerned about this and want to find out, here are some ideas to accomplish this and protect yourself before it is too late.

1. Understand what a gold digger is, and is not. There’s nothing wrong with a person being concerned about your financial stability. A long-term partnership means depending on each other through the ups and downs, and being financially reliable does help with that to a degree. The difference between a gold digger and someone who values your role as a provider is that the gold digger would deride and perhaps leave you if you lost your ability to provide for them financially. A good person can appreciate your financial resources, but a gold digger appreciates only that, and will not see the relationship as worthwhile if you’re not well off.

2. Gold diggers drop hints that they’re having trouble paying their bills (sometimes they might even ask you directly for a “loan” to tide them over). They know that you don’t want to see them get an eviction notice, or get their car repossessed, and you’re a good person who’s in a position to help. But there’s a difference between a gold digger and someone who’s just fallen on bad times. What you should be looking for is if, despite their situation, this person is making poor financial decisions. Do they buy a brand new car with luxury features when they’re struggling to pay rent? Do they buy $300 shoes or watches when their phone service is at risk of getting cut off? Do they go to expensive restaurants when their credit cards are maxed out, because they “work hard” and they “earned it”? Many gold diggers know better than to ask you to fund their more luxurious tastes, at least in the beginning; they’ll tap into your desire to help them afford the things they need (food, shelter, transportation) so that they can spend their own money on the things they want.

3. When they discuss their financial woes, suggest ways in which the suspected gold digger can make money fast. When you mention the possibility of them selling their luxury car, video console, guitar, diamond bracelet, or any other expensive item that could keep them from becoming homeless or having their utilities cut off or car repossessed, how do they respond? The average person will be saddened and may even become angry or upset, but a gold digger will be appalled at the very idea that they should have to give up their prized possessions in order to meet their own basic needs. They’ll treat the idea as ludicrous. More often than not, their dismissal of the idea will be accompanied by anger or even rudeness. This is a very subtle pointer that would give you a very good sense of their sense of entitlement.

4. Look for a sense of entitlement. Gold diggers feel that they deserve to be treated well, and that includes knowing that someone is willing to spend money on them. Maybe it’s because they had a bad childhood or relationship, and they feel they deserve to be happy (and it just so happens that their joy carries a high price tag). Or maybe they feel it’s their right to be able to pursue their big dreams at the expense of financial stability, and, coincidentally, haven’t considered who will foot the bill of their soul-searching. Have you noticed unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment? This sense of entitlement is one of the symptoms of narcissistic behavior, which has other symptoms that a potential gold digger might harbour.

5. See what questions they ask you. Certain questions which might seem harmless might really be an attempt to judge your ability to provide. None of these questions, alone, should get you worried but all of them on the first date should definitely send up a red flag:

a) How much do you make a year? Why would she/he ask this question? Because a gold digger is a mobile calculator, therefore every question that relates to money is calculated to determine the percentage of the total amount that she/he believes she/he “deserves”.

b) Are you a homeowner? And what type of car do you drive? They are trying to determine your overall worth and whether being with you is a profitable investment for them.

c) How many kids do you have? Your answer to the question will help her/him determine (calculate) much of your income and attention goes to your children and how much time you can devote to her/him. A gold digger is a needy individual that will take up a lot of your money, time and energy.



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