MALAWI: Malawi man convicted over ‘cleansing’ s3x ritual

Eric Aniva — who has said he is infected with the HIV virus — was prosecuted after publicly speaking about his role as a “hyena” in a BBC documentary.

Custom in some parts of southern Malawi demands that a man, known as a “hyena”, is paid to have s3x with bereaved widows to exorcise evil spirits and to prevent other deaths occurring.


At the request of a girl’s parents, the “hyena” is also paid to have s3x with adolescents to mark their passage to womanhood after their first menstruation.

The ritual, which many Malawians says is rarely practised today, is believed to train girls to become good wives and protect them from disease or misfortune that could fall on their families.

After an international outcry, President Peter Mutharika ordered Aniva’s arrest in July.

In the first case of its kind, Aniva, 45, was found guilty on two counts by magistrate Innocent Nebi after a one-day trial in a packed courtroom in the district of Nsanje.

“It is clear… that the state has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was engaging in harmful practices,” the magistrate said.


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