Madonna’s Adopting Another African Child from Malawi

And no, I don’t like it.

Madonna Ciccone is going to adopt yet another Malawi child, a little girl named Chifundo, or Mercy, James. Again, this entertainer is going to flaunt her white privilege through her Kabbalah-based charity, Raising Malawi, to take this little girl away from her family.

James’ family, composed of her uncles Peter Baneti and John Ngalande and especially her frail, seventyish grandmother Lucy, is adamant about not letting their niece and granddaughter go. The negotiations had been going on for up to two years, under great secrecy, and the family said that they would have agreed only if the girl would be allowed to return to her homeland after receiving an education and starting a career. As with David’s father, they did not give their consent to the adoption, as Peter Baneti explained to Daily Mail Online, “My mother, my brother and I all said no three times to the orphanage, which was pressing us on Madonna’s behalf.” It is only now with the announcement that Madonna was about to arrive in Malawi this weekend that the family and human rights groups, have been caught unawares, though gossip columns from the U.S. to Britain have been saying that Madonna was going to adopt the little girl. Madonna is expected to sign the completed papers at Lilongwe before a judge and take little Mercy with her.

Malawian pressure group Eye of the Child has appealed to the Government to make Mercy’s best interests their priority in considering Madonna’s application.

But director Maxwell Matewere said: “I think it is too late. This has all been achieved with the utmost secrecy and we heard only two days ago through the media that the adoption is imminent. We are helpless to do anything now that the paperwork is complete.

“This is a really sad development. Our adoption laws require foreigners to reside in this country for at least a year before they can be considered as adoptive parents.

“Somehow Madonna has side-stepped this once, and seems to be about to do it again.”

However, Madonna may come in for far more scrutiny than she did when she fast-tracked David Banda, said the Times Online:

Malawi does not approve adoptions for single or divorced people as a rule, but the official at the country’s welfare department said that each case was considered on merit.

David, who is now three and was the first child to be adopted by Madonna amid great controversy, is living with Madonna in New York City along with her other children, Lourdes Leon and Rocco Ritchie after the failure of her marriage with director Guy Ritchie. She is also raising him in the Kabbalah faith. Unfortunately, his father Yohane Banda has been unable to see his son in two years. He finds it very interesting that despite Madonna’s visit to Malawi a year ago with David (possibly to further her adoption of the girl), he was unable to see the boy then. This time he has been contacted by Madonna’s representatives that she would allow him to meet with David at the Kumbali Lodge in Lilongwe, whose 13 rooms have all been booked solid for her visit for weeks.

“We had a verbal agreement and she promised me that David would stay close to his roots and to me, his nearest relative. She broke that promise and I have heard nothing for two years.

“Now, suddenly, I have been contacted to say she is coming over again and would like me to meet her and David.”

To me, this is cover-my-ass behavior, especially when she needs to have little Mercy, who has been transported to the Lodge under the watchful gaze of the director of Raising Malawi, Philippe van den Bossche, and a nanny.

The girl’s uncles, who are subsistence fishermen, have no idea who Madonna is, much less knowledge about the wider world. Coming to Lilongwe to contest or approve the adoption is the first time that they have ever come to a city. They are unmarried. They cannot read or write. They live in mud-thatch huts with a standpipe for clean water. They don’t have electricity, therefore they don’t have radio or television. There is very little that they can offer their niece, except their culture, poverty and environment. It is an overwhelming experience. From their interview with Barbara Jones in the Daily Mail Online:

“We were told there is an important meeting where we must sign papers on Monday, and now we hear it is a court hearing in front of a judge. We have no experience of this sort of thing. We are not sure if we should be saying goodbye to Mercy like this.

“We cannot afford a lawyer to represent us but my brother and I are going to insist there is an agreement that our niece will come back to us one day. We really need that.”

It was hard for Yohane Banda to see his son for two years. He has since remarried to a woman named Flora and has another infant son, Dingiswayo. I doubt whether Mercy will be allowed to see her uncles in the interim or even after she is grown. And her grandmother Lucy knows that she will never see the child again if Madonna has her way. David Banda’s grandmother has died at 60 without ever seeing her grandson again.

Madonna, with her millions, can indeed make David’s and Mercy’s lives better than those of their countrypeople. But after their privileged upbringing, does anyone really think that they will return to Malawi and not hold their noses at their own people? Madonna does not have that going with her, to positively remind them of their people. She is a jet-setting personality who is firmly grounded in Western values, for better or for worse. That’s all she knows. That’s what she will impart to all her children. It is the ‘worst’ part that gets me.

I also seem to remember reading early on, that David Banda does not inherit any of Madonna’s millions if she deceases during his lifetime. They all go to her children Lourdes and Rocco. True, she raises and educates him, but he is not allowed to parttake of her estate. I am still trying to Google the article, but if my memory is correct, I feel that it’s almost as if he is a stepchild in her house.

Guy Ritchie seems to have come to terms with and cares for the boy who has his name and treats him as his own son. However, it is well-known that at first, he didn’t want the boy, mainly because he felt railroaded into the whole affair, and that he knew the marriage was in trouble. Was race a part of the equation as well? This is not as clear as Mia Farrow’s adoption of a black child setting off Woody Allen. Will David figure in his will? I wonder just how much of the acrimony between Madonna and Guy impacted David, as the boy was constantly with his nanny during this time. News of the Ciccone-Ritchie separation and divorce did hit Malawi, and it has scandalized the inhabitants, which despite their hardships, believe in traditional marriage and family.

I could go on and on about these celebrity adoptions, but they point up to a much larger issue: why is it that Africans, decades after colonialism, still cannot fend for themselves so that they can care for their families, especially the children? They are still dependent in some way on foreign aid or beneficence to even provide for the basic foodstuffs. Western countries–and now China–take vital resources out of the country for a pittance. They are in hock to Western countries and banks, and yoked to penury, ignorance, and warfare. Leaders who truly want to help their people are often co-opted or killed so that the status quo continues unchallenged. This is why some of these kinds of adoptions smell of the same paternalism that marked Western–read, white–treatment of blacks and Asians for centuries.

Madonna is a strong-willed woman. Money’s made her even more that way. She will have things her way or the highway. Whether it will make her or David or Mercy happier in the long run is anyone’s guess. And money has never helped that.

~ by blksista on March 29, 2009.

One Response to “Madonna’s Adopting Another African Child from Malawi”

  1. I wish more blacks would adopt overseas and domestically.

    “Madonna is a strong-willed woman. Money’s made her even more that way. She will have things her way or the highway.”
    -well then she must be the master of disguise because I have never seen her that way. Although, I have heard……


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: