View Full Version : African Father: Madonna Stole My Baby...

10-20-2006, 01:10 PM
The father of the little boy adopted by Madonna in Malawi has described his feelings of confusion and powerlessness in the face of the singer's determination to take his only surviving child away.

Peasant farmer Yohane Banda, who can barely read or write, admitted he didn't fully understand what was happening when he went to court on Thursday in his best clothes to see for the first and only time the woman who was offering his 13-month-old son David a new life in the West.

All he knew, as he sat in his dirt-stained cotton trousers, a check shirt and his treasured black denim jacket at the High Court in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, was that the slight, blonde woman standing before him in a simple black dress and black knee-high boots was hoping to take his boy away.

Yohane's court ordeal will further intensify criticism that Madonna had flown into the poor African country and used her wealth and celebrity status to try to steamroller authorities into granting a fast-track adoption.

For despite the court issuing an interim custody order, it seems Madonna is yet to start the complicated legal proceedings necessary in Britain to adopt a child.

If she does not complete the procedures, she could face a jail sentence of 12 months.

In Malawi, where the law prohibits adoptions by non-residents, human rights groups have stepped up their campaign to prevent David being taken away.

The charity Malawi's Eye Of The Child will tomorrow seek an injunction opposing the adoption.

Meanwhile Yohane, 31, whose wife Marita, 28, died a week after their son was born, was left to reflect on the confusing events of his day in court with Madonna.

Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, he said: "She was smiling a lot. She told me, 'Your son is very beautiful and he makes me very happy. I promise to take very good care of him.'

"I looked directly into her eyes and said, 'Although I am giving you my son I want you to look after him well as he is the only one I possess. I want you to keep this boy, raise him, educate him - but you have to know he is my son and he is a Malawian.'

"Then she thanked me for surrendering my child into her care. She said: 'I could not have taken him if you had not wholeheartedly consented.'"

The 30-minute court hearing was conducted in English, with Yohane taking part through a translator.

"I sat directly opposite Madonna and we looked at each other face to face throughout the meeting," Yohane said.

"I was looking into her eyes and I could tell from them that she was a good lady."

He confessed he had been nervous and overawed by his surroundings, and bewildered by the speed at which his baby had been put up for adoption.

"It has all been very crazy. Everything has happened so fast. I can't believe what is happening."

But he added: "In court I did understand that I was agreeing to give the baby up for adoption."

Yohane, who left school at 12, said he had not been able to understand the nine-page document written in English which was presented to him in his village home by Reverend Thompson Chipeta, a retired preacher who runs the Home Of Hope Orphan Care Centre in Mchinji, a town near Malawi's Zambian border, where David lived.

Yohane told how David had been in the orphanage since his mother died. The intention was that he would one day return to live at home.

05-21-2012, 01:46 PM
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