"In some remote regions of Malawi, it's traditional for parents to employ a man to have sex with their daughter when she reaches puberty."
"In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it's traditional for girls to be made to have sex with a paid sex worker known as a "hyena" once they reach puberty. The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual "cleansing". However, as Ed Butler reports, it has the potential to be the opposite of cleansing - a way of spreading disease.
"Aniva is by all accounts the pre-eminent "hyena" in this village. It's a traditional title given to a man hired by communities in several remote parts of southern Malawi to provide what's called sexual "cleansing". If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with Aniva before she can bury him. If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required.
And most shockingly, here in Nsanje, teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period, to mark their passage from childhood to womanhood. If the girls refuse, it's believed, disease or some fatal misfortune could befall their families or the village as a whole.
"Most of those I have slept with are girls, school-going girls," Aniva tells me."
"All of those involved in these rituals are aware that these customs are condemned by outsiders - not just by the church, but by NGOs and the government as well, which has launched a campaign against so-called "harmful cultural practices".
"We are not going to condemn these people," says Dr May Shaba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender and Welfare. "But we are going to give them information that they need to change their rituals."
And here is the followup story, yesterday:
Malawian 'hyena man' arrested for having sex with children
"An HIV-positive Malawian man, who says he is paid to have sex with children as part of initiation rites, has been arrested on the president's orders.
Eric Aniva, a sex worker known in Malawi as a "hyena", was the subject of a BBC feature last week.
He told the BBC that he did not mention his HIV status to those who hire him.
President Peter Mutharika said the police should investigate and charge him over the cases of defilement he had seemingly confessed to.
""While we must promote positive cultural values and positive socialisation of our children, the president says harmful cultural and traditional practices cannot be accepted in this country," presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said in a statement
Mr Aniva would "further be investigated for exposing the young girls to contracting HIV and further be charged accordingly", he said.
The president had also ordered all men and parents involved to be investigated, Mr Kalilani said.
"All people involved in this malpractice should be held accountable for subjecting their children and women to this despicable evil," the statement said.
"These horrific practices although done by a few also tarnish the image of the whole nation of Malawi internationally and bring shame to us all."
Last year Malawi banned child marriage, raising the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 - something activists hoped would put an end to early sexual initiations."