You cannot believe it but it has been happening right in Malawi. A group of about 30 young people in Thyolo have been having sex orgies and drunken revelries for over three months in what they termed as a 'Big Brother House' modeled in DStv South Africa-based reality show Big Brother Africa (BBA).
But it was only this week as the world was commemorating the World Aids Day, themed 'Getting to Zero', that residents of Malawi's newest municipality, Luchenza, were coming to terms with what had been happening in their neighbourhood.
This followed the arrest of six of the 'housemates' at Kanthawire Village Traditional Authority Chimaliro in Thyolo district this week.
Thyolo Police Public Relations Officer Edith Likaka confirmed the development but said only two of the youths have a case to answer.
"We received a tip from the village headman that a group of youths were involved in clandestine activities and as such we responded by raiding the house at night where we arrested six of them.
"Two have been charged already: Harry Ndalama, the owner of the house with operating a brothel and 17-year-old Florence Moda who was charged with earning a living through prostitution," she said.
Village Headman Kanthawire told Malawi News the group of young men had been converging in a house belonging to Ndalama who was financing the whole operation by buying beer and food for the housemates.
"I received complaints from two parents that their children were either missing or behaving strangely and after our investigations we found that Harry and his friends were keeping a number of youths in one of the houses which his late parents left," Kanthawire said.
"In fact, we are very worried with the development as our youth are at a risk of being infected with HIV. Besides some of the youths are students and have been missing school because of this nonsense which, as parents, we cannot accept to be happening in our community. It's unheard of," he said.
But sources from in the neighbourhood revealed that a contingent of young people, most of whom are children of prominent businesspeople around the town, has been operating wild parties at the house. They further revealed that the boys and girls used to watch pornographic movies, get high on drugs and alcohol before having free for all sex sessions.
A sister to one of the girls who frequented the 'house' but did not want her name to be mentioned said the concept of holding a semblance of a 'Big Brother House' had become very popular among youths in the area such that some girls would skip school in order to be part of the 'fun'.
"We were told that when the police raided the house they found some two boys having sex with one girl but others escaped after being tipped of the impending raid," she said.
Malawi News investigations further revealed that the 'house' was organised in such a way that those housemates who could not live up to expectations in terms of sexual prowess were being evicted from the house while others used to join during day time only.
The mother of the two girls who were picked by police confirmed with this paper that her daughters were answering charges in connection to the issue. "My two girls left on Saturday when I was at church. I tried to look for them but I did not succeed until Tuesday when I heard that they were in the hands of the police," she said.
"I don't know what went into their heads to do such nasty things. I do not even want to talk about it. Ask them yourself," said the visibly disgusted mother.
One of the girls, identified as Chilungamo and aged 18, declined to confirm that she was part of the housemates. "I was arrested on that night, yes. That I cannot deny but I was not in that house myself. It was my sister who was in there and I slept at the house of my boyfriend where the police picked me after my sister mentioned my name and directed them where they could get me," she said.
A source from Luchenza Youth Organization confirmed receiving the complaint from the traditional leaders. "We were also surprised to hear that there was such a thing in our community. That caused us great concern and we made our own investigations which established that this was not the first time for the group to do this.
"They organized the first one which lasted three months and this one which was stopped in its second week would have been followed by yet another one," the source said.
"Unfortunately, we cannot reach all these youths as there are also unconfirmed reports that four girls who were also involved in the same house are pregnant while two were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections. It's a worrisome development," he added.
He added that the organization has rolled out a campaign to sensitise youths in the area on the dangers associated with such habits.
"At the moment we are busy training peer educators on issues of sexual reproductive health but also empowering local communities," he said.
"We are also trying to involve some youths in agribusiness and other trades as a way of rehabilitating those who have been involved in undesirable behavior," he said.
Malawi, whose prevalence rate for HIV was estimated at 11 percent in 2009, joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Aids Day under the theme 'Getting to Zero.'