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Malawi culture: men are hired to have sex with girls

Have you heard of a strange ritual in the remote southern parts of Malawi? If no, you should check out this shocking article!

malawian girls

On the territory of some distant regions of Malawi on the south, there’s a tradition for the girls which reach their puberty to have sex with a paid sex worker called “hyena”. This act is not considered as rape by village’s elders. They take it as a form of a ritual cleansing. However, this act has a potential to become the way of spreading diseases.

eric aniva

A man called Eric Aniva, who is “hyena” for his villages, situated in the remote southern parts of Malawi, shared his experience with a BBC reporter Ed Butler. He says that most of the girls who he slept with were school girls. Some of them are only 12 or 13 years old, but as he says, he prefers them to be older. He’s absolutely sure that they find pleasure as having him as his hyena and that they tell everyone that he’s real man who knows how to please woman.
Besides this act, hyena performs other rituals which are considered sexual “cleansings”. For example, if a man dies, his wife is ought to sleep with hyena before burying her dead husband. Even if a woman has an abortion, she’s supposed to sleep with hyena.
In a village of Nsanje district, people believe that if the young girl refuses to have sex with hyena, diseases and fatal misfortunes will fall on her family or on the whole village. As you can see, girls have no choice.

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Despite of all boasts of a local hyena Eric Canva, a number of girls met by BBC reporter in a village nearby expressed their aversion to the rituals they have to go through. They simply realize that they don’t have any other options. They live in a fear that their families and villages could get hurt and they cannot refuse. They claim that every female friend they have was forced to sleep with hyena.

malawi girls

Currently Aniva is in his 40s. He has two wives, they are aware of his work and five children he knows about, as he’s not sure about the number of women who he could have made pregnant. He is of 10 hyenas in his community; he claims that every Nsanje district’s village has them. The hyenas are paid from $4 to $7 for each time.
BBC reporter had also met people who organize all of these rituals. Women in their 50s Fagisi, Chrissie and Phelia explained how it works. The thing is that they organize adolescent girls to the special camps each year. There, they are learned about their duties and also the ways of pleasuring their future husbands sexually.
The ritual of sexual “cleansing” is a final stage of their learning which their parents arrange voluntarily.

eric aniva family

It’s reasonable to ask if this sexual intercourse is protected. The custom is that sex with hyena cannot ever be protected with the utilization of condoms. Hyenas are believed to be hand-picked for his good morals, and there’s no possibility that he’s infected with HIV/AIDS.
Aniva was asked if he’s infected and he affirmed that he is and he does not warn the girl’s parents about it when they hire him.
He claimed that he was going to stop working as a hyena and when he was asked if he wants this ritual for his daughter, he said that it will never happen.
"Not my daughter. I cannot allow this. Now I am fighting for the end of this malpractice."

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