Superstitions Fuel Sexual Atrocities In Malawi

Superstitions are easy to hold on to, they lay no claim to verifiable facts and figures and are mostly rooted in a shared belief passed down from generation to generation. So when a claim arises that sleeping with your daughter will set your feet firmly on a ladder to riches, as silly and vile as it may sound to others, a superstitious mind supplies grounds where it is perceived as complete and utter truth.

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This apparently is the problem in Malawi as their security agencies continue to record arrests related to sexual offenses. It was in fact put forward by Malawi police spokesperson, Nicholas Gondwa that over 1300 men were arrested for defilement and incest crimes just last year. The men are often fooled by witchdoctors and sangomas who abound in the environment, that they can easily attain wealth by participating in acts of incest and defilement.


Sweet talking daughters into committing the act, or forcing them, lured by the promises of untold riches, the tale is not one that bears good news. By way of explanation of the happenings, the nation was branded a superstitious nation very recently by columnist Sellina Nkowani, who gives us this insight into the depth of the situation with these words culled from her article in a local paper;

“Malawi is a very superstitious nation… Malawian – educated or uneducated, well-traveled or not are superstitious. The only difference between those in the village and those living in air-conditioned houses in cities, is that the former believes in witchcraft while the latter believes in demons…This is why prophets are mushrooming everywhere and I have to say they are also doing quite well in urban area – both in brainwashing and making money,”.

Witchdoctor Arnaldo Rodis, (45), Madamba village, Tete province. The name of his spirit is Manuel. Arnaldo was married to 6 wives and had 9 children from them. He died from malaria in May 2011. (Spiritual ceremony). ***** In Mozambique, traditional healers in Mozambique both more successful and more popular than professional doctors. Hospitals and medical supplies are not always available in the provinces, and local people have more confidence in the spirits of the underworld, which enter the body of the healers, than in prescriptions from pharmacies. As such, all Mozambican healers are members of AMETRAMO ("Associação dos Médicos Tradicionais de Moçambique" - Association of Traditional Medics of Mozambique), which brings together practitioners from across the country and issues them a license to "doctor" activities.

The witchdoctors even make use of modern media including newspapers and social media to promote their enticing promises, putting up the promises for quick wealth on Facebook walls and continually thriving as more and more people fall prey to their gimmicks. Whether or not some Malawians continue to allow this terrible superstitions permeate their lives, police spokesperson, Nicholas Gondwa promises this; “Those who for the reason of superstition or male chauvinism will continue to engage in sexual offenses should realize one thing: having sex with minors is not a passport to riches but an automatic passport to jail. We will continue arresting them.”

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