Madonna and Son Back in Malawi
Madonna just can’t keep out of Africa – or the rumor mill. The erstwhile Material Girl and son David Banda touched down in Malawi Monday, for the first time since her adoption of the boy sparked a headline-grabbing controversy last fall, inevitably setting off another round of adoption rumors which the pop queen has been quick to dismiss.
Despite issuing a preemptive denial through publicist Liz Rosenberg last week stating Madonna was in the African country “overseeing the building of a children’s health-care center. She is absolutely not adopting another baby,” the star’s mere presence in the region has prompted speculation that the mother of three may be itching to keep up with the Brangelinas.
Still, Rosenberg said last week that expanding the Ritchie brood “has been a rumor ever since she began the adoption process for her son David, but it just isn’t true.”
What does appear to be true is that Madonna is in the country to check on the progress of her women and children’s charity, Raising Malawi, which she founded last year. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a childcare center made possible by funds from the organization was scheduled to take place Monday, though it was not confirmed whether Madonna would attend.
The center was built in the village of Mphandula, 30 miles outside the capital, Lilongwe, and will house 400 AIDS orphans.
Meanwhile, Madonna and daughter Lourdes, who also came along for the trip, toured United Nations-backed initiatives in the village of Mtanga shortly after touching down in the country. They were welcomed by singing women and children and visited maize crops and storage facilities in the area. (Madonna’s other son, Rocco, presumably stayed home with dad Guy Ritchie.)
Now 18 months old, David, Madonna and Lourdes arrived by private jet for his homecoming. While no itinerary has been confirmed, it’s possible that the threesome will visit both the orphanage from which the boy was adopted last October and Yohane Banda, the biological father whose comments unwittingly helped fan the media flames last fall.
Anticipation was high for both visits after it was reported that the Home of Hope Orphan Care Center, David’s former residence, had been freshly painted, the children had received new uniforms and three policemen were posted on their premises. Similar preparations preceded Madonna’s potential visit to Yohane Banda, with the road to his remote village getting cleared, to help accommodate any potential entourage.
The controversy over Madonna’s still-pending adoption of David kicked off almost immediately after she was granted temporary custody of the boy in October, as a coalition of 67 Malawi-based human rights organizations, deemed the Human Rights Consultative Committee, challenged the legality of the adoption and sought to have the High Court of Malawi overturn its decision to grant Madonna and hubby Guy Ritchie custody of the child on the basis that officials allegedly expedited the process due to the couple’s celebrity.
All parties denied the allegations, though the firestorm of international debate had already been set off. And while Yohane Banda’s frequent comments to the press that he alternately didn’t understand the finality of the term “adoption” or that he wasn’t fully informed that his son would be leaving the country didn’t do much to bolster Madonna’s case, it nevertheless failed to deter her.
In the months that followed, Madonna told BBC News that she “wouldn’t rule out” another adoption and urged her fellow Americans to “save a life” and adopt from the country while chatting with David Letterman.
The Ritchies have been granted interim custody of David for 18 months, during which time Malawi officials will check on progress made by the boy and determine whether his famous folks are suitable parents. Officials are expected to make their first visit to the couple’s London home in May.
From E! Online.