Malawi Elders From Nsanje,Taking the Word Fisi Literally.
It is said that the taboo (the only sane word i can use to describe it) is a practiced tradition 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 “Fisi” once they reach puberty. The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual “cleansing”. However, is has the potential to be the opposite of cleansing – a way of spreading disease.
Eric Aniva a name that is all over twitter, Is a “fisi” reported to be living in the dusty yard of his three-room shack in Nsanje district in southern Malawi. Goats and chickens roaming around in the dirt outside.
Eric is by all accounts the pre-eminent “hyena” in this village. It’s a traditional title given to a man hired by communities in several remote parts of southern Malawi to provide what’s called sexual “cleansing”. If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with Aniva before she can bury him. If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required.
And most shockingly, here in Nsanje, teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period, to mark their passage from childhood to womanhood. If the girls refuse, it’s believed, disease or some fatal misfortune could befall their families or the village as a whole.
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.” Tell me that all my female friends were made to have sex with a fisi, thats am not from that part of the world.
Despite the predicament and stigma in the girls that go through is ordeal, he boasts if it, ironically several girls in a nearby village express their version to the ordeal they’ve had to go through.
The cry out mentioning that they don’t have optioned placed in front of them, when parents or relatives are left to make decisions on their behalf. I had to do it for the sake of my parents,” “If I’d refused, my family members could be attacked with diseases – even death – so I was scared.” common phrases in the girls talk as they try to open up.
It is a fact that has left me puzzled and hoping that the villagers, if not the government of the day, will understand the dangers and stigma of the taboo, and in respect to humanity, ban and condemn the acts in the strongest ways possible .