Malawian Man Claims To Have Grown A Vagina

Jim Burroway

August 18th, 2010

The Nyasa Times has an article that somehow managed to catch my attention:

Jali Mateyu, 25, said he developed “strange flesh” two years ago but that it disappeared after he showed his first wife. …The man, who lives in the Chikhwawa district in southern Malawi, said the flesh reappeared in June this year and that his penis had “shrunk and later disappeared”.

He said he had been to herbalists who applied ointments and that now his male genitalia had reappeared alongside the female genitals. Mateyu, who is currently married to his third wife, said he believed his first wife’s mother bewitched him because he left her daughter for his second wife.

This is the same country that arrested, convicted and ultimately pardoned Stephen Mpnjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga following a traditional marriage ceremony. Chimbalanga identifies as a woman. She endured especially abusive treatment during the ordeal. Mateyu, on the other hand, has become something of a celebrity. Go figure.


August 18th, 2010

Commenting as an African here. The key in understanding the difference in treatment is the way these people see themselves. Chimbalanga identified HERSELF as a woman and thus was seen as succumbing by her own will to a “Western mental illness/aberration”. Mateyu, on the other hand, claims to be an unwilling victim to some evil magical act.

Africans are big believers of magical acts. I live in a country where beating a woman to death over accusations of being a witch has been reported as happening at least half a dozen times since the start of this century. The people will often find it heroic for someone to “stand up and denounce evil magical acts committed against them,” hence Mateyu’s sudden celebrity.

Chris McCoy

August 18th, 2010

I suspect that this is a form of Koro, which is rampant in Asia and in Africa; where individuals believe that their genitalia are shrinking or have disappeared altogether.

This article in Harper’s goes into some detail about the extent of Koro in Africa.

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