Madonna won’t allow ‘dad’ to meet his child

James Kambewa, 26, who is working as a waiter in Durban, had hoped to meet Mercy whom the wealthy star adopted.


Afp August 30, 2010

CAPE TOWN: Pop superstar Madonna will not allow a man who claims to be the biological father of her adopted Malawian daughter to see the four-year-old, a South African newspaper reported on Sunday.

James Kambewa, 26, who is working as a waiter in Durban, had hoped to meet Mercy whom the wealthy star adopted last year but Madonna’s spokeswoman Barbara Charone said the child’s father was not known.

“The extended family members had no knowledge of a father. The village leadership had no knowledge of a father ... the mother was raped and left,” the Sunday Times quoted Charone as saying.

Mercy was controversially adopted from an orphanage by the 52-year-old pop star after the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a lower court that blocked the placement. She is Madonna’s second adopted Malawian child.

“There was a three-week window between the oral arguments (in court) and the decision, when the man could have made his claim. Again nothing,” said Charone.

“Moreover, the Ministry of Gender has recommended that it would be in the child’s best interest not to engage with anyone claiming to be a parent or guardian.”

The court listed Mercy’s biological father as unknown and said that she was born in January 2006 to a 14-year-old mother who died days after giving birth.

Kambewa vowed last year to fight the adoption bid, saying media reports had alerted him to the child whom he thought had also died with her mother, with whom he said he had a relationship. The age of consent in Malawi is 14.

He told the Sunday Times earlier this month that he was happy the star was looking after Mercy but hoped to meet her one day.

Kambewa had earlier challenged the pop star last year. “I won’t give up the fight. I wrote to the court challenging the adoption because I am ready and willing to take care of my child,” he said earlier to seek adoption of Mercy.

In 2006, Madonna’s decision to adopt Baby David had caused a divide in Malawi. On one hand was a set of people who took the adoption positively and later welcomed the singer for a second adoption. On the other hand were Malawians who had concerns that the adoptions might lead to criminal cases like child abuse. After the issue being debated over Malawian media, it was also opposed on the grounds of the children’s psychological health.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2010.

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