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Avina in his community is referred to as Hyena, 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 Avina before she can bury him. If a woman has an abortion, she is expected to sleep with Avina to undergo cleansing. Also teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period with Avina 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. He says he’s one of 10 hyenas in their community, and that every village in Nsanje district has them. They are paid from $4 to $7 (£3 to £5) each time.
“Most of those I have slept with are girls, school-going girls. Some girls are just 12 or 13 years old, but I prefer them older. All these girls find pleasure in having me as their hyena. They actually are proud and tell other people that this man is a real man, he knows how to please a woman.” he told BBC
Avina when asked said he is aware that he is HIV positive but he doesn’t tell the women he sleeps with. Although he has lost count of the women he has slept with, he puts the figure at about 104. He is married to two women who know about his job and approve.