Mangochi district is not only famous for its conference halls, cottages, hotels or chambo fish but also has a long standing tradition of having women who can make men forget their home.
Legend has it that men who have ever gone to buy fish from Mangochi’s many fishing grounds have ended up settling there in marriage with local women whose display of love antics such as carrying a man on their backs all the way to the bathroom have proved effective.
These days, the women no longer carry men on their backs to the bathrooms. There is a new form of attracting men to Mangochi—sex services.
The sex workers in Mangochi are not just ordinary women and men. They are geniuses who have perfected their trade well.
The girls, especially, have an advantage as there are many places in the district where people patronise at night after a long day in the conference hall or sightseeing.
Places such as Zithere Pano, Sun City, Club 700, to mention but a few, are always a buzz of activities at night.
Some conference participants, tourists or traders will at least end up at one of the night clubs to pass the night away. And boy, their time is worth it, as a reveler, John Phiri (not his real name) from Blantyre, who come to Mangochi for a two-day conference, explains.
After attending a conference at one of the holiday resorts, he says he travelled to the boma to sample night life at Sun City.
“I was just hearing that Mangochi bubbles with life at night. Now I see it is true,” says Phiri, spotting a golf shirt and a pair of shorts looking relaxed as he gulps down a cold beer.
At Sun City, cars have lined on the edge of the tarmac road, as if it were day. As more cars pour in, so are the night queens whose fancy clothes nudge feelings from men of lechery.
The ground overlooking the building complex is donned with tables, crates and benches. Every few metres clusters of imbibers sit on plastic chairs—sipping from bottles or eating kanyenya.
Some restaurant operators take advantage of the vibrant night life in Mangochi to keep the businesses open until late into the night.
Some vendors have opened food selling points around the boma to sell nsima, rice, chips and boiled irish potatoes to revelers.
“Business is good as we sell late into the night,” says Abiti Willie, who operates a restaurant at the boma. “During day we don’t sell much. It is at night that we make more money because of the people who come to drink and seek sex services. We are grateful for the sex workers in particular, they bring us business.”
Looking across the road, people—rich and poor—loiter about lazily despite this time on the clock showing that it is close to midnight.
On the other side of Sun City, an earth road has branched from the main tarmac road and it leads to another popular drinking joint. At the junction, bicycle taxi men are relentlessly picking up and dropping passengers.
“This is peak hour,” says Ajibu Ndewule from Mtalimanja Township. He has been operating a bicycle taxi business for five years. He sleeps during the day and operates the taxi at night.
“At night there are many clients. And many of our clients are the sex workers and their clients. Men who hook them hire us to take them to various lodges and resthouses,” he explains with a sly smile.
“We charge K200 within a radius of two kilometres,” says Ndewule.
A sex worker, who jokingly asked to be called Ethel, says sex business in Mangochi is flourishing.
“I can sleep with five men a night. And if business is bad, I can sleep with two,” she confessed before demanding a bottle of Castle Lite to grant this reporter an ‘exclusive interview’.
But before she gets her cold beer, Ethel lands a client and dashes to ride Ndewule’s bicycle with her catch.
Meanwhile, the setting of entertainment has changed to Club 700. It is now mid night and most drinking dens are half empty as more people move to Club 700.
Loud music can be heard from a mile with people spilling inside in multitudes. The whole place is glowing with sex workers from all walks of life.
Inside this building are two bars. The first is just after the entrance. Then, there is another one at the further end. There is a pool table opposite the other small bar at the end.
Opposite the first bar is the dance floor. There, the sex workers are dancing to the rhythm of music erotically. They are dancing antics that beckon men to engage their services.
After an hour, Ethel walks in. She has changed her clothes. She looks more fresh and dazzling than before. She goes into the dance floor and begins to gyrate her waist.
“I change clothes to keep myself attractive to clients. It’s a marketing strategy,” she says, smiling.
As I leave the club at 3.30 am, the sex workers are still around the club looking for one more client to service before dawn breaks.