Malawian chiefs ban parading of ‘bare-breasted’ teens at Mulhakho Festival

As one way of addressing and curbing some existing harmful cultural practices in the country, chiefs have banned the parading of teenage girls displaying bare breasts at the Lomwe tribe annual cultural event known as ‘Mulhakho wa Alomwe’.

Flashback: Mulakho celebrations
Flashback: Mulakho celebrations

The festival was founded by late Malawian leader Bingu wa Mutharika in 2008 as one way of promoting and preserving the culture of Lomwe’s in the country.

Senior Chief Malemia of Nsanje revealed  that chiefs from across the country agreed and signed an agreement to eliminate the said part in Lomwe cultural practices.

Malemia was responding to an appeal by a contributor inside Times Radio’s phone in programmes in asking chiefs to deliberate on some harmful cultural practices that happen at Mulhakho wa Alomwe festival and ‘Kudabwe’ for the Chewa’s among others.

On Thursday, the Times Radio’s phone in programme hosted by the Multi-Award talk show winner Brian Banda centred on how people are weighing a two year sentence court handed Eric Aniva of Nsanje commonly called ‘Hyena’ few days ago.

Aniva was found guilty on charges of practising harmful cultural practices.

This followed Aniva’s admission through a documentary aired on BBC early this year that he slept with about 100 women and young girls in traditional cleansing rituals.

Customs in some parts of the country demands that a man sleep with a bereaved widow to prevent her and avoid strange deaths and as well as curbing evil spirits.

Speaking through Times, the Senior Chief confirmed that indeed traditional leaders signed an agreement against the bare-breast display activity among others.

“Senior Chiefs together with Paramount Chiefs from Nsanje to Chitipa agreed and signed to end the practice” said Malemia.

Commenting on the case of Aniva, the Senior Chief described the whole issue as a ‘disappointment and a shame’ to the Malawi nation.

He said there is a strong need for Malawians to join hands in fighting against harmful cultural practices in order to ‘flash out other Anivas’ practising secretly and silently.

The chief  therefore called upon stakeholders to consider organizing awareness and sensitization campaigns throughout the country on the dangers of sticking to old but harmful cultural practices.

One of the contributors in the programme said their is also a need to mobilize Members of Parliament to take the matter to the national assembly and form strict laws that will severely punish those involved.

Some contributors faulted court for the conviction of Aniva saying the matter was to do with cultural values hence the need to be handled by chiefs.

It is yet to be seen whether the labelled cultural practices will completely come to an end since some of the practices are deeply rooted.

President Peter Mutharika orderes the arrest of Aniva in July this year after the matter was aired on BBC.

Since then, Aniva’s case has attracted international attention and coverage.

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cioza catha
cioza catha
5 years ago

mmhu dikilani mudzatipase zathu, tsimunafuse ngati ndikufuna kuvula pagulu ngakhale ndi mwambo. kodi alomwe abwera liti muziko mwathu mwanthu muno,
zizukulu za bingu ndiso ana amabwana acilomwe acina ujeni etc, zizukulu za fumu ngogngololiwa????????????????? panalibe

bambo wausilu uyu akucita kulumphila kuvina nkhwapa mwa mwana wa weni, ife kutiopseza ndi tindlama tocepa ndiye muone sopano zithuzi zakale arcjive sopano. mwaace palibe koma kusekelela mwana wa eni atamuvulisa.
munya muona tipeze ma international lawyer osati zisilu zili mwathu munozi acina …. muwawaseke pakamwaq. zinandinyasa munandicosela ulemu wanga.

Alfonso Namaona
Alfonso Namaona
5 years ago

It is a shame on our judicial system to punish an individual for a cultural problem. It also shows how people in high positions lack knowledge on cultural issues of their country. Aniva’s case is something to learn from and come up with real pro-active means of rooting out such cultural cancers. Aniva, being HIV positive (as per what I read) should have been used to deliver awareness messages to the concerned populations to abolish the harmful cultural practices, which fuel the spread of HIV.

5 years ago

Mwadziwa liti???

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