MALAWI VAMPIRE ATTACKS

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Malawi Vampires or bloodsuckers (locally known as “namapopa”)represent another topical and controversial issue. The most recent Malawi vampire attacks happened in 2017.

In the Malawian context, vampires are described as superstitious people who hunt villages at night to suck the blood of the victims. Malawi Vampires are believed to possess magic powers allowing them to enter houses through walls, especially on corners. They enter homes even when house doors and windows are tightly closed.

Malawi Vampire Victim: Bauleni Jamiya

People narrating on how they were attacked, at one public rally,claimed Malawi vampires are able to switch bodies from the “human body” to a“wild animal body”, and then vanishes in the air.  “The vampire prey isleft weak and unconscious for some time,” they said. Furthermore, it is claimedthat Malawi vampires use superstitious pipes and equipment to transfer bloodaway from the victim’s body.

On one hand are people who claim vampires in Malawi exist while on the other hand are those that dismiss such claims.

Some people in the southern region claim bloodsuckers are a reality. They explain that they see gold pipes that suck their blood at night. However, psychologists dismiss it, saying issues about vampires in Malawi are a myth. Police also demised the rumors about vampires’ existence in the region as false.

Vampire victims claim that supernatural humans suck their blood at night. When the blood is sucked the victim feel week and sometimes they die mysteriously. However, no medical findings have proved any of these claims to be true. 

Origins of Malawi Vampires

Debate on the existence of vampires in Malawi is an ongoing tussle which resurfaces periodically. History shows the belief in bloodsuckers in Africa started in the last century. Malawi vampire scare happened in 2002, 2007, 2008, and the recent Malawi vampire attacks in 2017.

Belief in vampire attacks in Malawi is hinged on witchcraft, high illiteracy, poverty, and social hardships.  

Belief in superstition and witchcraft

There are some people who believe in witchcraft and superstition. Vampires are believed to be part of witchcraft acts. The early spread of vampire rumors in Malawi is believed to have originated from neighboring country Mozambique through Mulanje district.

Issues of witchcraft are common in the country despite, that Malawi laws state that witchcraft does not exist. Any a person who accuses another of practicing witchcraft is reliable to prosecution in the court of law.

In some parts of the country elderly people in villages are accused of practicing witchcraft. Old people suspected to be witches are tortured, their houses burned, and others are even killed by mobs.   

Ignorance and hardships

Many people are illiterate in the country. And their lives are surrounded by daily social and economic hardships.  According to some psychologists, the myth of vampires is the result of social difference between the rich and the poor. 

Among the poor people, some believe that the rich use blood to acquire wealth. They think rich people are responsible for sucking blood which they then sell in order to make themselves rich. As a result, some rich individuals were victimized whenever rumors about vampires surfaces. In the worst scenarios property like houses and cars of wealthy people are burned down.

In the past stories are told where in some communities people thought members of the Malawi blood transfusion services were bloodsuckers. As such when they come to schools especially in rural areas students would run away. This is a clear indication that illiteracy is a contributing factor to the belief in Malawi vampire attacks. It is now with the passage of time and civic education that learners are able to distinguish blood transfusion services from mythical blood sucking.

Political Rivalry

Some sectors blame the rise on the Malawi vampire scare to be a political issue. They believe political rivals deliberately induce vampire fears to discredit the ruling party.

The Intervention

During the time rumors reached the peek, President Mutharika, visited Ngolongoliwa village in Tyholo district which was one of the affected areas. The Malawi president emphasized to say that bloodsuckers do not exist. He promised that those found to be spreading the rumors will face the law. Police patrols were deployed in the area.

Traditional and religious leaders are having a critical role to play a key in the Malawi vampire scare. This is the case because according to research findings that reveal Malawians have more trust in religious and traditional leaders than politicians. It is, therefore, not surprising that when rumors of the attacks spread chiefs and religious leaders are always asked to intervene.  

Apart from Malawi vampire attacks, the Vampires have also been previously reported in other African countries like Zambia, Mozambique, and Uganda.   



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