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Women stripped naked in Malawi for wearing trousers

On Tuesday 17the January 2012 in the city of Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi turned wild with Vendors who sell some wares in the city's streets stripping all women wearing trousers on that day.

The situation got worse as i witnessed two ladies, who were putting on decent office attire being stripped naked in front of men in the city's streets for putting on trousers. This has caused havoc among women in the city and Malawi as a whole.

Women activists have asked for the vendors to apologize for their stupid conduct. Malawi is a democratic country and people are free to put on what ever they like. Women are human beings just like men. They have all the freedom to dress any how, and choose to enjoy their clothes. Women should not be discriminated at when it comes to clothing.

In fact in Malawi, these vendors get assisted from women who buy their products on a daily basis starting from clothes, trousers as well. This does not make sense at all. Women are so afraid to walk down the streets of Malawi wearing trousers, because vendors are stripping any body they see wearing a trouser naked. I was coming down from another assignment at the market, when i met the vendors undressing women saying they must not wear men's clothes.

I did the story and reported live on my radio and it was sad. The two women had no one else to rescue them until one woman who was driving a Starlet car rescued the ladies but her was stoned by the angry vendors.

The Lilongwe incident should serve as awake up call to the fight the country started in protecting the rights of women. This can only be achieved if society's mindset is changed for the better.

Malawi and the rest of the world in December observed the 16th Day's of activism with a call to ending violence against women under the theme, From Peace in the Home to peace in the world.

Lets challenge militarism and end violence against women. The message is crystal clear, Malawi as a signatory to international conventions needs to protect women from some vultures that call themselves men.

Such behavior in my case is barbaric and should never be condoned else where in the world.
We are all human beings, we have the right to dressing, education, health, and have all that women and men need in their lives.

Meanwhile, a campaign has been launched in Malawi in which all women have decided to stop buying wares from the vendors for a month until they apologize to the women of Malawi...


Jasmine Linabary's picture

Appalling incident


Thank you for sharing and drawing attention to this incident. Stripped for wearing trousers? That's awful. Does this happen frequently? What caused the vendors to decide to do this all of a sudden? I was reading elsewhere that the police are now saying this was done by a gang and that some were arrested but also some stories that say it was the vendors. What have you made of those reports since you were on the ground?

Hopefully the women's protest of the vendors will make a difference. I hope you'll keep us updated.

In friendship,

sibongile zgambo's picture


Wow thanks Jasmine for taking time to read my story dear. Well the main reason for the whole cause is not yet known up to now, though some are speculating that this could be political in nature.. This has never ever happened in malawi's history and its strange that the vendors can come to this far.

It was not a gang my dear, the police are using that as a scape goat , trying to run away from the whole issues because when i was on the street reporting the incident live as it happened, no police officer showed up , no car and it even took them another four hours to show up.

Meanwhile, the people the police arrested are not the one's who were found stripping women, they have been arrested because they were breaking shops stealing, so its not yet clear as to who and where are the real perpetrators at the moment.

mrbeckbeck's picture



What a shocking incident! I can only imagine how terrible that situation would be for those women. Thank you for being there to report out to the world, and to raise awareness about the women's campaign to boycott those vendors. Everyone deserves the dignity to choose what they wear. If it wasn't so horrible, disgusting and shameful, it would be funny-- to think that some men are threatened by women who wear pants! It's absurd. I hope that the authorities bring justice for those women and do not hide behind rumors of "gangs" or anything else. I look forward to hearing updates on this situation from you.


Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

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