Malawi man pleads guilty to sex crimes: Aniva confess to being a hyena,  charged with prohibition of harmful practices

Eric Aniva, a Nsanje commercial sex ‘hyena’ who slept with 104 young girls and widows since 1985 in an outdated sexual cleansing ritual, has been remanded at Nsanje Prison after he was charged with prohibition of harmful practices.

Eric Aniva, who has been arrested by Malawian police. Photograph by Eldson Chagara, AP

Eric Aniva, who has been arrested by Malawian police. Photograph by Eldson Chagara, AP

He is the first to be charged with the offence which is under Gender Equality Act.

Aniva pleaded guilty and his co-accused Tennyson Jampa, 55, pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said they would be bringing in other charges against the two and others yet to be arrested.

Eight more men are wanted on this and other sexual related offences and police say they are hunting for them.

The police also indicated parents of the under age chidren and village elders who surrendered the young girls might face other charges.

Aniva and his co accused also faces defilement charges.

Nsanje Magistrate Court’s Anderson Masanjala remanded Aniva and Jampa until August 5 when he is expected to deliver judgement on Aniva following his guilty plea and start a full trial case for Jampa who pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution is expected to parade witnesses to prove Jampa was part of the cultural syndicate of serial sex offenders for young girls and widows.

They slept with the widows allegedly to cleanse them of any evil and curses and usually it was done before the burial of their husbands.

The revelation by Aniva to the BBC has shocked the country and the world at large as people thought these harmful cultural practices ended long ago. Aniva is HIV positive and said he does not tell his clients his sero status.

Meanwhile, Malawi Police Service (MPS) has said it is ready to arrest all people implicated in traditional sexual cleansing like  Aniva.

National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa disclosed  that Aniva mentioned people who were engaging in the ‘hyena’ work with him.

“More names of perpetrators and victims are coming out. We will not divulge much information on our investigations and we cannot reveal the identity of the victims to respect their right to dignity, but we are ready to arrest all people that are involved in the malpractice,” said Gondwa.

Aniva’s arrest followed President Peter Mutharika’s directive to have him jailed following BBC News story on July 21 2016 outlining his role as a fisi (hyena) who sleeps with young girls and widows in sexual cleansing rituals.

In the story, which went viral on social media, Aniva confessed to being HIV positive, exposing the girls and women he had slept with to the virus.

Aniva  said he was being hired to have sexual intercourse with teenage girls as young as 12 after their first menstruation, at a fee of between $4 (about K3 400)and $7 (about K5 000, paid by each of their families).

If found guilty of defilement, Aniva  in his 40s with two wives, could be imprisoned for life, according to Section 138 of the Penal Code.

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The arrest of the hyena man of Nsanje is not fair because that such practice like kulowa akufa is not his own making but something rooted in the culture or tradition so much so many are involved. If means to stop the practice many are to be arrested including the Traditional Chiefs who are the custodians of the very evil practices. Is the government really ready to arrest all members in the area of the practice. There is need of carrying out stakeholder analysis and come up with the best solutions to the problem other than rushing at effects of… Read more »

@Fletcher in Latin or in law they say “ignorantia juris non excusat”. Need we say more!


Yes Mojo can you come again clearly because I forgot everything I learnt in latin in 2002, elucidate your idea


Weak criminal justice system I say. We might arrest them bla bla blah just do your jobs and re introduce public hanging for everyone found guilty. …waste of tax payers money putting them in jail…these are rapists ..peadephilia (spelling)

James Gogoda

Briton coming to Malawi to reveal this ordeal to the whole world when our journalists are sitting phwii pampando. Shame! Let me tip you something. If you go deeper to initiation ceremonies, Nyau and other cultures, you’ll find more than this. It should not take another foreigner to discover these abuses


u stupid gogoda…this doesn’t mean our journalists have never reported this. it just shows how shallow u follow wats written in our papers . its a shame the whole HE goes on bbc to cover this by arresting an innocent man. Arrests shud start from the minister going doing to the chiefs who are the custodians. EVen in thyolo where HE comes from kuchotsa fumbi is still in practice.

Aniva kileyekiliye
1. Aniva was chosen by village elders and sanctioned by Village heads and chiefs. 2. Village elders were handing over widows and adolescent girls for Aniva to cleans them. 3. Parents were giving consent for this to happen. Most females if not all from Sena belt have gone through this cultural practice and if we ask them today, they can point the hyenas who feasted on them. 4. Some are even having top jobs in Government, Civil Society Organisations and Private companies, yet they went through this and have been quite. 5. If any arrests, then arrests all community members… Read more »

Eric Aniva, a Nsanje commercial sex ‘hyena’ who slept with 104 young girls and widows since 1985 – and – If found guilty of defilement, Aniva in his 40s with two wives – I quote and do the ARITHMETIC and tell how old was he when her started chewing the sweet sixteens or levens??????


Mwana sakulangira ndi munthu wina

Ine mu diaspora

Student what a shame you are. Tell your concerned friends that this is not symptomatic of the whole country– we see on the news daily about psychopaths in America do we conclude that all Americans are psychopaths? And inu a nyasatimes what is this charge __prohibition of harmful practices _ wasn’t anniva doing the exact opposite of prohibition, ie, he was promoting the practices and not prohibiting them. If they have indeed charged him with prohibiting harmful practices then there is no case here.

I wish you knew. But If you are a student in a foreign land, whatever you do; becomes a representation of your country. If you are stupid, people think that all Malawians are stupid. Sadly, if you are wise, people dont think that all Malawians are wise. Likewise, if they hear anything bad about your country, you are automatically thought as being party to it. As such, I dont blame these “friends” of mine, for their reaction. I decry the timing – It has just happened at the wrong time (when FIFA sanctioned international friendly games were just about to… Read more »

The district AID Coordinator must be fired.

Sad that this BBC journalist will win an award while our journalists are busy following ministers when they go to inaugurate toilets at a market.

True Patriot
I feel pitty for the young girls who are the victims of this archaic cultural tradition that exposed them to contracting the deadly AIDS virus. I only hope that it didn’t get that bad. I, however, also profoundly sympathize with the arrested man for the following reasons : 1) This man is a mere victim of circumstances. Most of us know that this cultural practice is still prevalent in some parts of the country and its really hypocritical to fein surprise at its existence. I’m sure sure that the president was merely embarrassed that this guy bragged about his escapedes… Read more »
James Phiri
Tikukanika kumanga anthu anaba K577 bn koma kulimbana ndi anthu osauka and defenseless. These cultural and traditional practices date back many centuries and include: Kulowa Kufa, kuhara, fisi, female genital mutilation etc. They are primitive, archaic, bad, retrogressive – yes. But the answer is not to arrest Mr. Aniva. And the parents of those children willingly bring those girls to the hyenas. So why arrest the hyena? Lets get to the bottom of these cultural practices. Arresting one man will only push the practice underground. There are better ways of dealing with such matters. Presidential Advisors, Mafumu, MPs, T/As explain… Read more »

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