Know anything about Billy Chisupe/ mchape/ traditional medicine and AIDS in Malawi?

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malawi: Message Center for Malawi RPCVs: Know anything about Billy Chisupe/ mchape/ traditional medicine and AIDS in Malawi?

By MCD ( - on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 9:33 am: Edit Post

To the RPCV Malawi community:

I am an American Rhodes Scholar at Oxford working on a dissertation on the Billy Chisupe/ ‘mchape’ affair in Liwonde, Malawi beginning in 1995 (briefly, Chisupe claimed to have found a cure for AIDS, and hundreds of thousands, or perhaps a million, people drove south to try it.)

I am contacting you in the hopes that you might have some information on the event.

There's been very, very little written about this-- something like three newspaper articles and two journal articles-- and so talking with people who remember the events is essential.

To that end, I am looking to contact anyone who might remember the Chisupe affair, and particularly anyone who might have been involved in the official, religious, or public health response to Chisupe, for a conversation by e-mail or phone, or perhaps in person in Malawi in late April. If this might be you or someone you know, please e-mail me at

I’d also be interested in reading anything that you may have written—in diaries, letters, etc.—about Chisupe or AIDS or traditional medicine in Malawi while in the Peace Corps or after the fact. I can send you a copy of my work when I’m finished, and I will of course acknowledge anything of yours that I use.

If you have any information on “mchape,” or if you would be able to suggest some names of people to contact for further information, I would be much obliged.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to hearing from you.


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