13 July 2009

Vampires in Malawi

"Rumours of people being attacked for their blood have swept southern areas of Malawi. Terrified villagers have left their fields untended," they are "scared of becoming the next victims of the mysterious blood-suckers" (Tenthani). A recent "Malawi vampire panic started with people who said they had been attacked by bloodsucking vampires. Many of the victims were women and children. One woman said that the vampire had used a needle, not its teeth, to take her blood" (Steloff 68).

Villagers turned on outsiders and accused their leaders. "In January 2003," governor Eric Chiwaya "was attacked and nearly killed by a mob that claimed that the government was helping vampires prey on the people" (Stefoff 68). Although, "the president of Malawi...said that there were no vampires," and that these rumors "had been started by political enemies," frantic violence erupted (69). "Strangers" were the "victims of vigilantes and villagers" were "wary of anyone who" was "not known in their area" (Tenthani). "One man...was stoned to death" after angry mobs claimed that he was a vampire or was "working with the vampires" (68).

This is not the first vampire-panic in recent times. In the 1950s and 60s, "the assumption...that many Europeans were vampire-men who sucked the blood and ate the flesh of innocent Africans" was prevalent (Lewis 90). "Luise White discusses" the origins of these fears "at length in her study Speaking with Vampires". In "Southeast Africa the charge of blood-sucking was routinely levelled...at European colonial and post-colonial authorities and the Africans who worked for them. Often, advanced technologies figured in these stories of imperialist vampirism--those who had access to the technologies and understood their use were often suspected of using them for nefarious purposes" (Day 164).

Perhaps the European colonists appeared malicious to the native populations; however, no evidence exists indicating their connection to vampires. In the same way, I can find no evidence that supports the idea that vampires maintained any political objective in Malawi during the early 2000s. Most certainly, Malawi is not vacant of blood-drinkers, but the angry mob mentality will not protect the citizens from their pernicious bite. [Read about blood-drinkers in Malawi].



Day, Peter. Vampires
Lewis, I.M. Religion in context.
Stefoff, Rebecca. Vampires Zombies, and Shape-Shifters.
Tenthani, Raphael. BBC News. "'Vampires' strike Malawi villages". 23 Dec 2002.


  1. These is very fascinating and alarming.... Good for you for spreading this information! Does anyone have any descriptions of the vampires?

  2. Descriptions of the "vampires" paint an image of a man wielding a needle for blood extraction. Most likely, a human stirred up this panic. It seems unlikely that a vampire would be involved in such an event or hold an interest in Malawian politics.