Lifestyle & Belief

Zimbabwe's "female rapists," accused of semen harvesting, strike again


Sisters Sophie Nhokwara (26), Netsai Nhokwara (24) and Rosemary Chakwizira (28) leave Harare Magistrates court on November 29, 2011 after a pre-trial hearing for attacking male hitchhikers to collect semen for rituals.


Jekesai Njikizana

Zimbabwe police have confirmed that two men were sexually assaulted over the Christmas and New Year holidays, the latest alleged attacks on male hitchhikers by women.

Now Zimbabweans fear the country's "notorious" gangs of female rapists "are on the prowl again," according to the New Zimbabwe website.

Scores of sex attacks blamed on “twisted sperm-harvesting syndicates” have been reported around the country in the past two years.

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In a typical attack, male hitchhikers are offered a lift at night, and then are drugged and forced to have sex at knifepoint or gunpoint with their female attackers before being dumped at roadside, according to reports.

In one case, a man said he was threatened with a snake before being raped.

In November, three women made headlines after 31 used condoms, some of which contained sperm, were found in their car in what Zimbabwean media described as a semen-harvesting ritual.

Rosemary Chakwizira, 24, Sophie Nhokwara, 26, and Netsai Nhokwara, 24, from the town of Gweru, were charged with 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The women, who have since been attacked by mobs, reportedly told police that they are prostitutes and had been too busy to dispose of the condoms. They are scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 26.

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Rumors abound in Zimbabwe as to the reasons for harvesting semen.

One expert said that sperm is associated with new life and regeneration, and can help improve your luck. Another report said semen is used as a facial cream and hair conditioner.

The Standard, a Sunday newspaper in Zimbabwe, reported that condoms full of semen are "selling like hot cakes" in neighboring South Africa. 

In one of the latest incidents on Christmas Day, a 25-year-old man was reportedly offered transport by two women. He was forced at knifepoint to have unprotected sex with the pair, before being thrown out of the vehicle late at night, the New Zimbabwe said.

The other recent incident was a similar story, but the man was threatened with a pistol instead of a knife.

Zimbabwe's police chief Augustine Chihuri has warned that female rapists will be "professionally dealt with accordingly without fear or favor."

"Let me warn all social miscreants who are soiling the country's social fabric, cultural norms and values by perpetrating abominable and weird activities of women sexually molesting men, sometimes at gunpoint, to stop the practices forthwith," he said. 

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