If men had the power to turn into hyenas, the hood would be divided into several zoos with some hyenas seizing every opportunity to prove their virility on young girls.
Obviously, it would look pretty odd to live double lives – one moment you are a human being – the next moment you are a spotted hyena, depending on prevailing circumstances.
Perhaps, wizards in the hood would have the monopoly of turning into hyenas over ordinary mortals.
In fact, there is a widely held belief in the hood that some people are capable of magically turning into hyenas at night to bewitch their perceived enemies or steal items from other houses.
For my part, I would turn into a hyena each time my landlord came to demand rentals.
Actually, I would not go that far. The landlord would turn into a hyena before coming to press for rentals from me.
Imagine male cops turning into a clan of hyenas to have the agility when pursuing thieves in the hood.
In fact, things would get messy if thieves also turned into hyenas when pursued by the police.
I bet some men in the hood would also turn into hyenas in brothels when nagged by sex workers over payment for sex.
Some men who prefer eating meat to the exclusion of vegetables would turn into hyenas each time they found vegetables at home.
Obviously, wives would not stomach the demand for meat from ‘hyena’ men when they did not leave money to buy beef in the first place.
Fortunately for every woman in the hood, no man is a hyena or masquerading as one.
But this is not to say that in some parts of Malawi there are no men calling themselves hyenas.
If you haven’t been following the news lately, you may be wondering what all the fuss about hyenas.
The BBC reported recently that in some remote southern regions of Malawi some men are known as hyenas. You may call them God’s creatures, but the thing is, they are no ordinary hyenas.
Of course, they are not confined to zoos for people’s viewing pleasure, but these are men who are hired by some parents and traditional counsellors (alangizi) to have sex with young girls who have reached puberty.
According to the BBC story, the ‘hyena’ men claim it is traditional for them to sleep with girls, some as young as 12, as a way of introducing them to womanhood.
Call it scavenging on young girls, but the hyenas call it tradition.
However, the practice has not gone well with one ‘hyena’ called Eric Aniva, who is also reported to be HIV-positive.
The government of Malawi has cracked a whip on all ‘hyena’ men. Some of them have run away into caves, perhaps to seek refuge from their cousins in the bush.
Maybe, this is why another Malawian man, Chamangeni Zulu of Njenjewa Village in Chief Mulonyeni, lost his manhood to a hyena a few years ago hoping that he would become rich.
Perhaps he wanted to bring all hyenas into the hood after being helped to become rich.
Unfortunately, Aniva the ‘hyena’ found himself facing the law after he boasted in an interview with a BBC reporter that he had slept with over 100 young girls at their first menstruation.
It is feared that some young girls who were made to have sex with the ‘hyena’ sex worker may have contracted the virus.
Of course, there are no condom sizes for hyenas, and no retailer in the hood would want to sell the latex material to carnivorous mammals.
If the ‘hyenas’ knew that condoms have 95 percent protection rate with consistent and correct use, they would ask for their right sizes.
Well, perhaps Aniva the ‘hyena’ didn’t have all this information, which is why he is now behind bars for ‘scavenging’ on young girls in the name of tradition and culture.
Needless to say, there are many people in the hood who are still holding on to traditions which pose a risk to the lives of women and girls. Sexual cleansing is one of them.
I hope all alangizi in the hood would learn something from what the Malawi government has done to ‘hyena’ men.