The queen of pop returns to Malawi to meet her adopted son’s father and check aid work she is involved in…
Her first trip to the impoverished southern African country of Malawi last year was not without controversy. US pop star Madonna adopted David Banda, now 18 months old and was accused by the civil society of using her celebrity status to circumvent laid down rules about foreigners adopting Malawian children.
But this time around, there was little clamour about her trip. Madonna who arrived in Malawi on Monday (April 16) with daughter Lourdes on a private jet proceeded to Mchinji the hometown of her adopted son, situated about 100 kilometres west of the capital Lilongwe where she toured a United Nations project.
Security was tight at Kamuzu International Airport as the pop diva arrived while cuddling David. The media was obstructed from taking pictures. Both local and international journalists had difficulty to have access to the singer whose hallmark appears to be avoiding the media at all costs.
The media had to tail her convoy all the way to a secluded Kumbali Lodge about 10 kilometres from the New State House, the home of Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika in Lilongwe.
No-one was allowed entry into the premises, which are heavily guarded by the G4 Securicor, an elite security company in Malawi.
Media reports were awash here that the pop diva would be adopting another child but her spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg said: “She is in Malawi to oversee the building of a healthcare centre. She is not adopting another baby.”
While in Mchinji Madonna toured maize fields where farmers are taught new methods of improving their crops. Through the UN-funded project, local farmers are also trained in fish farming.
During the trip, Madonna was with her daughter Lourdes and her husband Guy Ritchie while David was left behind at the lodge with a nanny.
The singer is expected to take the child to Yohane Banda his biological father at the Home of Hope where David was living before Madonna was granted an interim custody order.
Earlier, Yohane complained that he had no access to “his child”. He said that since the child left for the United Kingdom, he had not spoken with the pop diva to find out how the boy was fairing in the world of the affluent.
Madonna travelled back to Malawi six months after she signed interim adoption documents, which authenticate that she can stay with David as she awaits the Malawi government’s nod to finalise the adoption process.
Government officials are currently monitoring how the singer is living with the child. After 18 months a decision will have to be made on whether Madonna can fully adopt the child. So far so good for her as government officials appear to be happy with the progress.
Malawian Information Minister, Patricia Kaliati told the press she was happy that Madonna had brought the child to temporarily unite with his natural father.
“We salute her for coming back to Malawi with the child to unite with his father,” she said.
The trip, Kaliati explained, was a true manifestation of someone who had goodwill to assist thousands of Malawian children orphaned by the ravaging effects of HIV/Aids pandemic.
Madonna set up a charity, Raising Malawi, whose core mission is to provide accommodation, education and food among others, to orphans in Malawi. The country has over 500,000 orphans.
A nation united for Madonna’s cause
Godknows Maseko, chief executive officer of Step Kids Awareness (STEKA) an organisation that fights for the rights and protection of children against any forms of violence in Malawi says time has come for Malawians to emulate what the pop diva is doing for the country.
He explains that thousands of children in Malawi are roaming the streets in search of shelter or food but end up being exposed to all forms of violence.
“The number of children who are raped or forced into child labour is alarming. What Madonna is doing is for the good of the nation and can help to salvage the children who are at the moment suffering,” he explains.
Another Malawian living in the Lake district of Mangochi, Kings Mulyasanga says there is need for all Malawians to support the pop diva’s cause.
He notes that of all the popular musicians and film stars the world has ever known it is only Madonna who humbled herself in spite of her riches to trek down to Malawi and associate “with us the poor of the poor. She is a rare gem.”
Arnold Kabisala, who is a proprietor of secondary school in the commercial hub Blantyre says he has seen how Malawian children especially orphans struggle to pay fees for their education.
It therefore, comes as a chance of lifetime for Madonna to support some orphanages in the country, he reasons.
Last year, the adoption of David divided the nation with some Malawians and child rights organisations arguing that Madonna was cutting corners to adopt the child.
But all of a sudden a good number of Malawians are beginning to appreciate Madonna’s cause, which is to uplift the welfare of the Malawian child.
Even Yohane, David’s father is likely to cast a smile as the pop diva arrives at Lipunga Village where father and son will temporarily unite.