Madonna: ”we are working together as a partnership”
• Madonna urges Malawi youths to work hard.
From the AFP.
Madonna, the one-time backing dancer who grafted her way to becoming the “Queen of Pop”, on Thursday urged Malawian youths to work hard to realise their potential.
“Keep working hard. I hope you realise how much power you have to make a good future for yourselves,” the US singer told scores of cheering and dancing villagers when she inspected a modern-day care centre her charity Raising Malawi Organisation has built at Mphandula village, 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of the capital Lilongwe.
Making her first public speech since she landed here on Monday to continue her charity work in this impoverished African nation, Madonna, wearing a maroon T-shirt with the word Love, said: “It is exciting to be here at the centre.
“It was a bush before and there was nothing, now there are these beautiful buildings.”
With toddler David Banda, the Malawian boy she intends to adopt, Madonna said inside a hall built as part of the centre: “It is not the buildings that matter, but your kind heart for giving this land freely.”
“Remember, this is a partnership. I have heard people say please come back, this is a partnership and also help yourself and do your part.”
Alfred Chapomba, founder of the Consol Homes orphans charity, which has partnered Madonna’s group, gave the star a half-hour tour of the campus as women danced and sang praises to their important visitor.
Traditional chief Kalolo thanked Madonna for the infrastructure, saying: “We are now proud villagers who are seeing this type of development for the first time in our lives.”
The chief told Madonna to continue developing the village, home to about 2,500 people, but with neither running water nor electricity. “Thank you for everything.”
A local band equipped with home-made instruments entertained Madonna for 10 minutes, with the “Material Girl” and David throwing a step and dancing to the amusement of the villagers, most of whom did not wear shoes.
Madonna kept urging David to dance and clap hands, and he responded as the villagers cheered on.
Aida Kapondera, 62, vigourosly danced with Madonna for 10 minutes to the sounds of the band.
“I enjoyed dancing with her,” Kapondera told AFP, wiping sweat from her forehead.
Photographers were kept away by Madonna’s bodyguards from the hall where the singer and her adopted son mixed freely with the villagers.
• Madonna visits day care center in Malawi.
From the Associated Press.
Madonna wore a T-shirt proclaiming “Love” and danced to the rhythm of a pop song at the opening of a day care center Thursday, one of the projects she’s funding in Malawi.
The 48-year-old singer, who carried toddler David Banda in her arms, was greeted by singing children as she toured the center, run by local charity Consol Homes.
Madonna picked up David, then 14 months old, from an orphanage in Malawi in October and took him to her London home. She is hoping to adopt the child.
Her latest visit is to check on projects run by her Raising Malawi organization.
Local children performed the
Paul Simon-Joseph Shabalala hit “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” playing traditional instruments and singing. Madonna danced to the refrain.
“You should not expect much from me alone but we are working together as a partnership,” she told local officials.
The center will eventually provide education and food for up to 4,000 children from surrounding rural areas.
Consol Homes Director Jacinta Chapombsa said parents would be able to bring their children to the center knowing they would receive a basic education and food.
Tight security has accompanied Madonna on her visit this week, and it was unclear whether she had met with David’s father, who sent him to an orphanage after the boy’s mother died. Yohane Banda has said he was too poor to care for his son.
Madonna, who is married to filmmaker
Guy Ritchie, has two other children, 9-year-old Lourdes, who is also on the trip, and 6-year-old Rocco.
• Madonna urges Malawi villagers to “help themselves”.
Madonna danced with Malawian children on Thursday during a visit to an orphanage and urged them to “help themselves” instead of relying on her.
Wearing dark glasses and clutching the one-year-old Malawian boy she is adopting, the singer toured the $120,000 facility that is home to 4,000 orphans and which she helped to fund.
Surrounded by children, she jived to Malawian music accompanied by pounding traditional drums as staff and villagers sang “Madonna thank you for coming.”
“This is a partnership, it’s not (for) me to do everything but we need to work together and you have to help yourselves,” Madonna told orphans, adults from the local village and orphanage staff.
HIV/AIDS has killed millions in Malawi, leaving more than a million orphans.
Raising Malawi, a charity co-founded by Madonna, provides food, education and health services to 32,000 orphans in the southern African country through seven community-based organizations.
This is Madonna’s second visit to Malawi six months after she and her film director husband Guy Ritchie signed interim adoption papers for custody of local toddler David Banda.
David will stay with the couple for 18 months at their home in London before a decision by the Malawian government on whether to finalize the adoption.
Rights groups have accused Madonna of using her fame and wealth to circumvent the country’s adoption rules, but the singer has insisted she is following the law.
Madonna’s spokeswoman has denied media reports the American star plans to adopt a second child and said she is focusing on her charity work in Malawi during this visit.
Thursday’s trip to the orphanage comes at the end of a three-day visit to Malawi, during which Madonna visited the Home of Hope orphanage where David once lived, and where witnesses said he met his biological father.