News24

Madonna visits son's orphanage

2010-04-08 20:08

Mchinji, Malawi -Madonna on Wednesday took her Malawian adopted son David Banda back to the orphanage where she controversially plucked him from poverty in 2006, for an "emotional attachment," the director of Home of Hope told journalists after her tour.

Journalists and photographers were barred from entering the vast orphanage at the foot of Mchinji mountain, some 120 kilometres from Malawi's administrative capital Lilongwe.

Lucy Chipeta, a director of the orphanage, which is bankrolled by Madonna, told reporters the home to 500 orphans was "delighted to have David back."

"David spent most of his first days on earth here. He cannot be de-linked from this place," she said.

Chipeta said the centre's famous son, who was with his big sister Lourdes, toured his former bedroom and crib.

"We have preserved his room including his crib," she said.

His biological father Yohane, who stays in a remote village near the Zambian border, did not meet his son and Chipeta refused to say why they did not invite him.

Yohane, who ekes out a living from peasant farming, brought David to the centre shortly after his mother died after giving birth. He was 13 months old when Madonna found him there.

One of us

The Madonna entourage, which arrived at the centre in several vehicles, was welcomed by smartly-dressed orphans who sang and danced and chanted "Welcome home, David!" and "We love you, David!"

But hundreds of villagers who turned up at the gates of the orphanage were disappointed not to see David since they were denied access to enter the centre.

"We just hear about David growing up healthy. We want to see him because he is one of us," said Clara Chioko, who had strapped her baby girl to her back.

She accused Madonna of being "unfair to us for not allowing us to see our David."

Others climbed nearby trees to try a glimpse of David and Madonna, who arrived in the poor southern African nation on Monday to lay the first brick of a $15m academy her charity Raising Malawi is constructing outside Lilongwe.

Madonna also adopted Mercy 'Chifundo' James from an orphanage in the south last year. Mercy did not go to David's orphanage.