A 40-something year old man has narrated how he is regularly paid to have intercourse with minors.
Eric Aniva who makes a living from being a s3x worker lives in the Nsanje district of Southern Malawi.
His work – known as a “hyena” is part of the sacred traditions of his village where young women are usually “cleansed” by having s3x with a hyena, sometimes as punishment for an offence such as having an abortion.
Speaking to BBC, Mr Aniva said:
Most of those I have slept with are girls, school-going girls. Some girls are just 12 or 13 years old, but I prefer them older. All these girls find pleasure in having me as their hyena. They actually are proud and tell other people that this man is a real man, he knows how to please a woman.
But with one in 10 Malawians having HIV, the work of hyenas is accompanied with the risk of spreading serious veneral diseases.
And Mr Aniva himself has HIV, but continues his work regardless and is paid between £3 to £5 by locals to perform the rituals.
Village elders, who are responsible for organising the “cleansing”, insist that they are necessary to “avoid infection with their parents or the rest of the community”.
Government officials do not endorse the traditions, but they do not kick against them either.
Dr May Shaba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender and Welfare, said:
We are not going to condemn these people. But we are going to give them information that they need to change their rituals.
While one of the elders, Chrissie, said:
There’s nothing wrong with our culture. If you look at today’s society, you can see that girls are not responsible, so we have to train our girls in a good manner in the village, so that they don’t go astray, are good wives so that the husband is satisfied, and so that nothing bad happens to their families.