Keith Foley liked to take his holidays in out-of-the-way places. This year he had gone to Africa and was now in Malawi. As he was walking about the town of Blantyre he noticed a large crowd thronging in to a field. He asked someone what was happening and was told that this was the day when the sentences of corporal punishment recently ordered by the district court would be carried out. These canings were always carried out in public in order to increase the humiliation of the punishments and the deterrent effect.
Out of curiosity he went in. He made his way through the jostling native crowd and found a vacant place near the wire where he could see the whole proceedings. He noticed two people whom he knew standing near him, Mrs Chilemba and her daughter Omalara. They were wealthy native Malawians from Lilongwe, the capital, and were staying at the same hotel as him. Mrs Chilemba was very traditional in her ways but Omalara was quite westernised. Keith saw that the seventeen year old girl was wearing a T-shirt and extremely tight jeans which showed her attractive behind off to perfection. He knew that Mrs Chilemba was worried that Omalara was too friendly with an 'unsuitable' boy and that they were often arguing. His sympathies would normally have been with the daughter, but she had been very rude to him, for no reason, the day before and he realised that she must be a difficult girl.
There was a group of people in the middle of the field, near a wooden hurdle. It was easy to see who was going to be caned as they, both men and women, wore undecorated grey gowns and their hands were cuffed. He had a good view and had his binoculars with him. There were about a dozen men to be punished, from men in their forties to boys of school age. Most, however, seemed to be about nineteen or twenty. There were rather fewer women - six or seven. These, too, were of varying ages, one definitely middle aged, while there was also a very frightened looking girl who didn't look more than fourteen or fifteen. There were also several police and prison officers - some of whom carried leather straps. Several canes hung from a stand near the hurdle.
The women were punished before the men - an application of the doctrine 'ladies first'. A large, Junoesque, woman was led forward and, using the loudspeaker system, an official read out her name, her offence - which was theft of jewellery from a hotel bedroom - and her sentence - six months imprisonment with twelve strokes of the cane at the beginning of the term and another twenty at the end. This was the first instalment. The woman appeared to be about twenty-five and looked defiant rather than frightened.
After the details had been read out one of the female officers removed the woman's gown and she stood before the crowd stark naked except for a tiny G-string. Now Keith saw that she had an excellent figure; until then this had been hidden by the shapeless grey gown. She did not seem ashamed that everybody could see her bare breasts - Keith supposed that African women had different ideas about nudity.
The officer led her round in front of the hurdle and made her bend over it. Then she fastened the woman's handcuff's to an iron ring set in the ground. This ring could be moved nearer to or further from the hurdle depending on the height of the offender. The woman's big black bottom was exposed for punishment. Keith noticed that she kept her legs tightly together and felt his prick harden giving him an uncomfortable erection.
A woman police sergeant took off her uniform jacket and selected a cane from the stand. It was a straight length of rattan, spirally wrapped with cord at one end to provide a hand grip. It was about a yard long, gradually tapering from nearly an inch thick at the handle end to less than half an inch at its tip. It looked a lot worse than the one Keith remembered being used to painful effect on his own clothed bottom at school. The sergeant walked over to a large barrel and lowered the cane into it. It came out glistening wet. Keith later found out that the barrel contained antiseptic liquid to prevent the cane from splitting and embedding splinters in the offenders' bare buttocks. The sergeant swished the cane through the air twice to release the surplus liquid. It hissed wickedly and sounded horribly supple. Keith saw the woman's bottom flinch and wriggle at the sound.
Then the caning began in earnest. The sergeant was obviously very experienced in the administration of corporal punishment. She brought the cane back behind her shoulders and lashed it down with amazing force. She used her whole body and also a supple little twist of her wrist to bring that rod slamming down on to the young woman's unprotected black bottom with the force of a Grand Prix car hitting the barriers. Keith clearly heard the noise of that terrific impact, without the benefit of loudspeakers, but apart from a slight tremor passing through the woman's body she remained impassive and made no sound.
The next stroke, equally violent, followed after a pause of about ten seconds, once again eliciting little reaction from the stoical African woman. Stroke after stroke landed and Keith could see, through his binoculars, that her bottom was covered in weals and two open cuts where the skin had been broken. But apart from a slight kicking of her legs the culprit remained apparently impassive. He heard admiring comments from the African audience - they appreciated courage.
After the eighth stroke, however, it was clear that the pain was getting through to her. Keith heard a loud metallic rattling as the woman tried to pull her hands free. The sergeant must have noticed this as well. She paused a bit longer before the next stroke and it may have been even harder than the earlier ones.
This time the woman yelled out in pain at the top of her voice and kicked her legs frantically. The G-string protected her modesty, but only just! Some of the crowd clapped, apparently to applaud the sergeant's skill.
Keith moved his binoculars to look at the group of female offenders awaiting their own punishments. They now looked noticeably more apprehensive. The young girl of about fifteen had started to cry.
Each of the following strokes now drew a wild yell from the suffering woman and there were longer pauses now between each stroke as the sergeant waited for the scissoring, kicking legs to return to rest before delivering each stroke. The twelfth and final stroke was across the lowest part of the woman's bottom, where the skin was already broken, and the tip of the cane lashed right round to imprint itself on her writhing hip. Then the sergeant threw the used cane to the ground and the crowd heard the sobbing of the caned thief.
Keith noticed Mrs Chilemba turn and say to her daughter "I hope you're paying attention, young lady. If your behaviour doesn't start to improve soon that's what you'll be getting!" Omalara turned away and did not answer her mother. This was no idle threat however.
The officer bent down and unfastened the handcuffs from the metal ring. Then she lifted the caned woman upright - she could hardly stand. Her hands were still cuffed in front of her, so she was unable to comfort her blazing bottom. Her gown was draped over her and then two officers dragged her back to a van to await her ride back to prison. She had an even worse caning to expect when she came out - twenty strokes. Keith wondered if she would look forward to the end of her sentence!
The next culprit was led forward. This was the fifteen year old girl, now sobbing and obviously pleading for mercy. Her name and offence were read out. She had 'persistently disobeyed her parents' and had been sentenced to five strokes of the cane. Once again Omalara's mother turned to her daughter, "You see! If you're cheeky to me just one more time I'll take you to the judge and the whole town will see your bottom get striped!" This time Omalara stupidly went too far.
"You wouldn't dare!" she said," And if you did they wouldn't take any notice of you!"
This was too much for her mother. Angrily she grabbed her daughter and dragged her, struggling, over the wire towards the centre of the field. Keith was amazed at her strength. An excited buzz grew from the crowd as they realised what was happening. Mrs Chilemba and her daughter disappeared into a tent in the middle of the field.
Meanwhile the canings continued uninterruptedly. The ring had to be moved much closer to the hurdle for the shorter teenager, but this was soon done and she was bent over in turn. Keith would have left at this point, he had seen enough, but he couldn't resist waiting to see what would happen to Omalara.
The young schoolgirl was not as brave - or as used to the cane? - as the jewel thief and she yelled loudly at each of her five strokes, which were inflicted by the same sergeant, trying desperately to escape. When her handcuffs were released and she was pulled upright she continued to scream hysterically. As she was taken in to the van she was sick over one of the officers. Keith saw another officer follow her in, with a strap.
Omalara and her mother remained inside the tent while the four remaining women were caned. They had all been convicted of the same offence - prostitution - and each received eighteen strokes, which seemed to be the standard punishment. These canings were carried out by two different women officers. Evidently it was felt that each one could only deal with a maximum of two offenders.
The women took their canings well on the whole, but only the oldest of them managed to last without yelling out. The crowd applauded her courage. Keith noticed, through his binoculars, that the bottoms of all of them except for the last to be caned bore scar marks obviously left by earlier canings. This last prostitute didn't seem to Keith to be much older than Omalara, perhaps nineteen or twenty at the most. She had much lighter skin than the others and was the only one of the four whom Keith thought in the least attractive. After the third stroke she started to struggle frantically and to yell uncontrollably. By the end her bottom was covered in blood and she was in at least as bad a state as the schoolgirl had been.
As she was dragged, squirming and shrieking, to the van Omalara finally made a reappearance. Keith gasped at the sight. She had been handcuffed and her jeans removed, revealing a pair of white briefs which clung to the curves of her full, round buttocks. She was barefoot. She still held her pretty head high and maintained a defiant expression, but it was difficult for her to look dignified with her hands cuffed in front of her and her panties on public show.
The official made the announcement. Omalara Chilemba was to be caned for persistent disobedience and insolence to her mother. She would receive twelve strokes of the cane. Keith was surprised at the severity of the sentence. He had thought that, if she was punished at all, she would get five strokes like the other girl, or perhaps a few more as she was older. He later found out that it had been her mother who had insisted on this sentence - the maximum. The announcement continued. As all three women sergeants had already carried out two canings Omalara would be caned by one of the men.
Omalara was bent down over the hurdle and chained to the ring. Her mother stood nearby among a group of police, holding her daughter's jeans and high heeled shoes. One of the men sergeants removed his jacket and rolled up his shirtsleeves. He walked forward and, inserting his fingers into the waistband, pulled the teenager's panties down over her thighs. He seemed to take his time about this and Keith thought he saw him whisper something to the bending girl.
The sergeant spat on his right palm and rubbed his hands together. Then he hoisted a cane similar to that which the other women had felt and immersed it in the antiseptic solution. At least Omalara was getting the women's cane rather than one of the longer men's canes that Keith could see on the stand.
Studying Omalara's beautifully rounded bottom through his binoculars Keith noted with admiration that she was almost completely still, holding her legs close together to protect her modesty. Of course she did not even have the meagre benefit of the G-string that the other victims had had, but nearly all the others that day had been trembling even before their punishments had started. The sergeant drew the cane back and lashed it down, using his skill to put all his weight behind it, across the seventeen year old's naked and exposed rump.
Experienced and practiced in their art as the women sergeants had been that first stroke was sufficient to show that the man had a much stronger arm and was prepared to make full use of it. The noise as the supple cane thwacked across Omalara's tender bottom-flesh echoed like a gunshot across the field. Omalara's body shuddered and she kicked her legs but she did not yell out. Keith saw an ugly weal spread across her dusky cheeks. The skin already looked close to breaking. Omalara wriggled for a few moments as the full pain hit her. Then she once again pressed her thighs together, awaiting the next stroke.
After about half a minute the sergeant raised his arm and again the cane hissed through the air. It fell, striking hard across the teenage buttocks, about an inch below the mark left by the first stroke. Omalara's reaction was the same as to the previous stroke. Keith admired the courage of the proud girl, but he didn't think she would be able to hold out for long.
He could see that the whole area between the first two strokes was already swollen. It was to this area that, with perfect aim, the sergeant directed the third and fourth strokes at intervals of about twenty seconds. Omalara took the third stroke in silence, although her head shot up sharply and Keith heard the tell-tale rattle of the chains as she tried instinctively to free her hands. But after the fourth she squealed in anguish and lurched forward over the hurdle, her legs wildly scissoring. Keith could see that blood had now been drawn. The sergeant waited patiently until Omalara's squirmings abated.
The hapless girl desperately contracted her buttocks in anticipation of the next angry stroke. It fell on a previously uncaned area below the existing weals. Omalara's resistance was now at an end and she howled at that stroke and at each succeeding one. She no longer worried about how she was exposing her most private parts as she wriggled and writhed in agony. The sergeant ignored all this impassively and just continued to methodically cane her bottom with full force.
After the ninth stroke landed Omalara slumped soundlessly over the hurdle. She had evidently fainted because of the pain. The sergeant grinned and stood back, signalling to an officer who walked to the van and obtained a large bottle of water, which she then poured over Omalara's head until she regained consciousness. Then another man, evidently a doctor, came over. He took hold of Omalara's curly black hair and roughly lifted her head so that he could examine her eyes. He held a bottle containing some smelling salts under her nose until she jerked away. Then he looked at the cuts and weals on her battered buttocks, dabbing the worst of the blood away with some gauze. He said something to Omalara and then turned to the sergeant to indicate that the punishment should continue. Keith was surprised that Mrs Chilemba continued to stand nearby completely impassively. Obviously she didn't think that her daughter had suffered enough yet.
The sergeant did not mitigate the force of the last three strokes at all, although he directed them to an area at the lowest part of the girl's buttocks and the tops of her thighs which had escaped the worst of the earlier strokes. Omalara yelled wildly and struggled desperately, but vainly, to escape, but she did not lose consciousness again.
After the twelfth stroke had lashed home the sergeant stood back and Keith was able to see the effect of his handiwork. The girl had been caned in an area some five inches deep. The open cuts and quarter-inch weals raised on her flesh by the caning covered her bottom from top to thighs. Keith could not see any flesh on her bottom free from bruising. The sergeant threw down the cane and pulled Omalara's panties back up over her swollen bottom. He was not particularly gentle about this and Keith saw Omalara wince sharply.
Then the teenager was released and dragged onto the van with the other caned women. Keith walked away at this point. He had seen enough and did not want to see the men caned in their turn.
Next day at the hotel Keith saw Mrs Chilemba at breakfast, although Omalara wasn't there. He didn't know what he should say to her, he knew that she had seen him at the canings and must realise that he had seen her daughter's punishment. However his doubts were cut short when she approached him and told him not to be embarrassed. She said that Omalara had needed a good caning like that for some time and that it would do her nothing but good. She explained that Omalara had been kept in the cells at the Police Station overnight and that she was going to pick her up after breakfast. She didn't seem to be in a particular hurry.
Keith did not see Omalara again until nearly a week later, the day before he was to leave Blantyre. For the first time she was down again for breakfast with her mother. She was wearing a loose fitting traditional dress and had abandoned her jeans. Despite the interval since her punishment Keith saw that she did not sit down at the table with her mother but stayed by the buffet, eating standing up. Those guests who did not know what had happened cast surprised looks at her.
One of the waitresses, carrying a breakfast tray, walked to close to Omalara and brushed against her. Her arm just made the merest contact with the teenager's bottom but it was enough to cause her to flinch instinctively, squeal loudly and drop the plate she was holding. Many of the guests giggled or laughed and Omalara walked slowly and stiffly out of the room, not looking anyone in the face and holding one hand to the back of her dress.
Keith would have assumed it was just an accident but Mrs Chilemba, who herself looked rather amused told him that she was sure it was deliberate. She explained that for the last week Omalara had been in her room lying on her bed with her face downwards to prevent her sore buttocks from touching against the bed or any other material until the wounds started to heal. All the hotel staff were aware of this as they had to bring her food. Omalara had been rather too given to ordering them about when they'd first arrived and the staff were all happy and amused at the nature of her painful comeuppance. Mrs Chilemba was not too annoyed that the young waitress had taken her opportunity to get her own back. However she told Keith that she would have a quiet word with her and warn the girl that if it happened again she would report her and that it might be her own bottom that was sore!
Keith left the hotel to continue his holiday convinced that Omalara had learned a useful lesson.