Female Genital Mutilation practised in Malawi on the quiet

The practice of female genital mutilation is very quietly happening in some parts of the southern region with activist calling for a systemic cultural shift to end the harmful procedure.

Sharp razors used for Female Genital Mutilation

Sharp razors used for Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation often entails the complete or partial removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

Nyasa Times spoke to some chiefs in Machinga, Zomba and Chiradzulu who confirmed that girls in these areas are undergoing the procedure during initiation with the practice going almost unnoticed because of the secrecy surrounding it.

A change in culture is needed to make sure women and girls will no longer have to undergo the procedure, said Senior Chief Liwonde.

“The initiation is intended to prepare them for adulthood,” he said.

He admits that  some of the practices carried out during the initiations are not openly discussed with just anyone and are generally kept as a closely guarded secret.

Initiation camps are held outside villages in temporary shelters built just for this purpose and then burnt to the ground once children are sent home, said the chief

The risks associated with female genital mutilation include heavy bleeding, developing sepsis, urinary tract infections, cysts and becoming infertile.

In Zomba, Sub TA Ntholowa confirmed that girls spend days at the “initiation” camps dedicated to learning how to engage in sexual acts through a rite of passage.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission, a government agency,  reported that initiations impinge on girls’ rights to education, health, liberty, and dignity.

The Commission further elaborates on some of these rituals, stating that girls are taught a dance known as chisamba “as a way of preparing them for their role of satisfying their husbands in bed,” and that they are made to perform this dance at the end of their initiation “bare-breasted in a very explicit manner as they are being presented to the whole community.”

The study also notes, however, that initiation rites vary widely, and that in some communities girls attending initiation are advised not to have premarital sex.

Despite the social role of initiations, there are numerous public health concerns surrounding the custom in Malawi. Young girls largely unaware of the risks are being told to have unprotected sex in a country where a tenth of the population is HIV-positive.

Girls Empowerment Network, a locally run coalition of young women led by Joyce Mkandawire is sensitising the public and local leaders against harmful cultural practices.

“The difficulty with culture is you deal with the [village] chief and he says, ‘I have changed. I have put [in] bylaws [to prohibit initiations]. [Then] you come [back] and [initiations] are quietly being done,” says Jean Mwandira, a specialist in reproductive and adolescent health with the United Nations Population Fund in Malawi.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ine ndemwe
Guest

I feel like mukunena zokoka and you dont have the english name. FGM is something serious. I havent heard about it in Malawi. One of the reasons why it is done is ensure that they eliminate/reduce sexual drive in the females and only have it to satisfy their husbands. You will find that this is not the case in Malawi. The clitoris is not removed.

Bandawe
Guest

Primitive tribes

Jigidijigidi Jaba
Guest
Green Muheya you are stupid. Please do not use your privilege of being a journalist irresponsibly by peddling cheap propoganda. It is unfortunate that despite all the negative practices which you people have tried to associate the Southern region people, the Yao and sometimes the Lomwes in particular, you would want to label them with another negative. This is unfair and irresponsible. You yourself can even testify that even the statement you are saying Chief Kawinga made are is something of your own making. Since when did girls initiation camps in Machinga started being located in the bush? It is… Read more »
wachilomwe okoka
Guest

mwapeza ina yoti mudyerepo ndalama sichoncho? kamuvuleni mwana wachilomwe olo wazaka 5 mukazizwa kuona atamanga mafundo. we value nyini kuposera kusheva. mukuti chani alukhu inu. kuthako kosakoka koma kwa mtumbuka…….osatinyozetsa alomwe chigololo timathadi. pezani ina. mxuuuuu

Big punisher
Guest

Mkazi waku Machinga by the name of G has denied this story of chopping off some stuff between their busty legs.Machinga women have a full package.Ndiye osawawonongera misika.

Segstocles
Guest
Even the male sex organ mutilaton has to stop because the country which is sponsoring it is divided. Some section is in support of it while the other is not. Intact america is the one which is not in support of it. Intact america condemn the practice because of the fact that the foreskin contains langerhans which are responsible for fighting against pathogens. They even fight against viruses. For those who would like to know more please visit the INTACT AMERICA webpage so that you’ll read by yourself. This is no simple matter guys please some of these reaserchs have… Read more »
Tengupenya
Guest

The mutilation is happening!

Baba -Mdogo
Guest

Achimwene ! Apa ndiye mwanapo . Be specific and mention the name of the villages where FGM is practised in southern region.
Or let the girls who have gone under such operations come out in open, then i will take your story seriously

Mapwiya
Guest

Mukatha spa muziti kota anyapala inuuu

mukharapwio
Guest

akazi a kummwera kuno amakhala ndi zokokoka zambiiri moti kuona nanyong’oyo ee ngati ungomudya ndi kamwa izi mwalembazi mzabodza maplan ongodyera ndalama kulibe mdulidwe wa azimayi kuno mwina pitani pakati ndi kumpoto komanso ndakaika naonso amakhala ndi nyini zokoka.panya panu.mafumuwo amangoyankha ee zilizonse pofuna ma freebeis

More From Nyasatimes