The Documentary

BBC World Service

News & Politics, Society & Culture, History

Chart Positions

History 19
Society & Culture 76

The best of BBC World Service documentaries and other factual programmes.


Stealing Innocence in Malawi

July 21st, 2016

Episode 1289 of 1340 episodes

Ed Butler explores the secretive and shocking world of Malawi’s “hyenas”. These are the men hired to sexually initiate or cleanse adolescent and pre-adolescent girls – some said to be 12 years old, or even younger. It’s a traditional custom that is endorsed and funded by the communities themselves, even the children’s families. We meet some of the victims, the regional chief campaigning to stop the practice, and the hyenas themselves, and ask if enough is being done to stamp out a custom that’s not just damaging on a human scale, but is also undermining the country’s economic development. Reported and produced by Ed Butler.