Eric Aniva
In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it’s traditional for girls to be made to have sex with a paid sex worker known as a “hyena” once they reach puberty. The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual “cleansing”. However, as Ed Butler reports, it has the potential to be the opposite of cleansing – a way of spreading disease.

NSANJE-(MaraviPost)—Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Thom Ligowe has taken over Eric Aniva “Hyena’s” case.  This development comes barely two days after Nsanje First Grade Magistrate Anderson Masanjala recused himself handling the case arguing his hands were tied in the face of different comments on the matter from media.Judiciary Spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed the appointment of Judge Ligowe to proceed with the case once it resumes on August 25, 2016.

Aniva along side his accomplice-Vito Nkhalamba remain in police custody following the court’s refusal to grant him bail in two appearances as the police are said to have not finished with investigations on the matter.

The Nsanje based Aniva was arrested on July 25, 2016 following President Mutharika’s directive.

Ironically UN Women General Phumzile Mlambo-backed Mutharika’s move saying she was looking forward to a successful conclusion.

Aniva, 45 was detained after confessing to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television on July 21, 2016 that he defiled more than 100 adolescent girls as part of initiation the young girls into womanhood and sleeping with widows in a sexual cleansing ritual. Ironically, the Hyena has been HIV positive when fulfilling his cultural assignments.

Aniva told BBC that locals used to pay him money in the range of £3 to £5 to perform the sex rituals.

The Eric added that as a hyena, the main duty is overseeing a coming-of-age ritual, where girls take part in sex over a three-day period after their first menstruation.

Eric who hails from Chiphwembe Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Malemia in Nsanje district will face life sentence if found guilty of underage sex.

However, Malawi Law Society (MLS) through its lawyer Mandala Mambulasa offered to represent Aniva in court.


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