Of blood suckers, the ‘Anamapopa’


Courtesy of one of our prospective members from the mountain district of Mulanje, we are hereby gathered somewhere at Chitakale.

The core aim of this trip is fun and more fun. However, we have not got the fun we anticipated prior to travelling here.

Like many fun-lovers, the Crew’s members are scared. At first everyone thought what we initially heard was just one of those rumours that die like any of those whirlwind.


Our friend from the mountain terrains says: “Comrades, I wish I took you up to the border – Muloza; but the risk is too high. Sinditofuna mufeko kuno [I wish I could have taken you to the Malawi-Mozambique boarder at Muloza, but I don’t want any of you to die after being killed], nkhani ya ‘Anamapopa’ [blood suckers] yatovuta kuno, ena aphanako!”

We become attentive, wonder and surprise registering on our faces. Not that the Crew is easily scared, but we are shocked that our friend from Mulanje, whom we have always known to be brave, is actually shaking with fear.

“Actually, some friend has posted on Facebook that people in his home village have actually burnt to ashes some dogs because the locals believe some ‘Anamapopa’ are turning into dogs or other animals, just to disguise themselves. So be careful, and be extremely careful because every stranger is deemed a suspect and avoid driving at night, especially if your vehicles have some patches of red colour on them; zafika posauzana!” he says.


‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M thinks he can turn the fear and concerns into a joke. “So these people, I mean the villagers of Mulanje and Phalombe can even break beer bottles, thinking they are blood suckers in disguise. Ehedeeeeeee!”

But immediately he says so, the she bartender serving us gets angry. She bangs the door of the cubicle she calls a bar at this joint, and confronts us.

“You people from the city think we people of Mulanje and Phalombe are crazy for fearing ‘Anamapopa’? Do you think they don’t exist or some of you are part of that syndicate? These things are real; my neighbours neighbour says the cousin of her cousin, recently had encountered ‘Anamapopa’. Anatompopa magazi, ati anamfayira zina zake zatomulengula. Kenaka anatomupopa pa mphumi [a a cousin of a cousin to the neighbour of my neighbour recently encountered such a situation, she became a victim of blood suckers who pumped blood out of her by inserting something on the forehead, piecing the skull,” the bartender said, tears coming out of her eyes, looking very convinced of her facts.

We all become silent, fear gripping us, obviously everyone realising the magnitude of the unfounded rumours. Locals of these two districts cannot be moved to believe otherwise.

“Where is the Ministry responsible for Civic Education? Can’t it for once be used to sensitise the masses on the reality of the situation?” Joe whispers in my ear.

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