4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7
The first time I heard Madonna, the easily recognizable international superstar, singer, and songwriter, was when she produced the hit single “Holiday” and later “Material Girl.” Of course, Madonna has also recorded songs for thirteen studio albums, three compilation albums, two remix albums and eight soundtrack albums. In the 1980’s, these internationally famous songs had many Malawians flock to the crowded dance floor in Chisakalime Hotel as Kid and Stumpie of Love Aquarius fame, or Chubby and the New Scene Banda belted out the beats of Holiday, Material Girl, and Madonna hits.
Then in the new Millennium, the celebrated American pop star Madonna “adopted” Malawi as the target of her philanthropic work. She did this by adopting the baby David, whose mother had died, and the vulnerable father could not adequately look after. She came back later in 2009 to adopt Mercy; she has since adopted twins. This Madonna’s family, comprised of two of her biological children and four of her adopted children from Malawi, to six children.
In the process of these adoptions, that were complete with the drama of “court injunctions to prevent Madonna adopting Malawi children,” the “Penstone Kilembe trips to the UK to investigate how David was living….” Then the following court injunction to stop adopting Mercy; recently another injunction to stop the adoptions of the twins.
Another attempt to establish an academy for Girls, was foiled by in-house mismanagement and misuse of funds for the project.
All these led to miles of bad press, in and outside of Malawi.
However, although Madonna coined herself the material girl in her 1986 hit song, she is a resolved, persevering, and compassionate woman, who was not deterred by the animosity leveled at her in her quest to focus her charity work for Malawi. That focus led her to establish her charity work under the banner of “Raising Malawi.”
“I have achieved so many things, I never imagined I could do in my life, like build a pediatric Centre in Malawi, raising six children four of them Malawians,” Madonna told the large gathering on Tuesday in Blantyre.
Madonna was speaking when she officially opened the Mercy James Centre for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, with a large gathering that included Malawi President Peter Mutharika and the First Lady; Vice President Saulos Chilima, Government and civic leaders and the donor community in Malawi and the public.
Malawi President Professor Peter Mutharika, First Lady Dr. Gertrude Mutharika and Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima and Mrs. Chilima gracing the opening ceremony was a high honor for this tenacious superstar, who did not give up on Malawi, despite the runaround Malawians orchestrated to stop her from “taking our Malawi children to a foreign country,” she soldiered on. There were other Malawians that even suggested Madonna should sponsor the children, but not remove them from their home (natural habitat?). Madonna ignored these; refusing to be snubbed by the few and persisted in raising Malawi.
Madonna, speaking publicly to Malawians and the world, that she is committed to promote the welfare of Malawian children. Full stop.
During the Tuesday ceremony, Mercy James, thanked her famous mother for being committed to take care of Malawi children. Speaking chokha chokha chizungu, (only English) Mercy introduced her mother to speak in opening the Mercy James Centre for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, in Blantyre, the commercial city of Malawi. Mercy did this introduction, cupping it in ultra-mode fashion, Mercy does the bop before giving her Mum the mic. Madonna rewards her daughter Mercy, after whom the Centre is named, by hugging her.
A powerful thousand words.
“Let me celebrate the beautiful spirit of inspiration I found in Malawi,” Madonna said as she continued in her “I have achieved so many things, I never imagined I could do in my life, like build a pediatric Centre in Malawi, raising six children four of them Malawians,” statement.
The Mercy James Centre for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, has 56 beds, three operating theatre rooms, an Intensive Care Unit, High Dependence Unit, 46 main wards and a recovery ward. It is a Centre of excellence that is a one-stop children’s healthcare institution.
It is estimated that 700 surgeries will be conducted at the Centre annually.
Madonna, who was once asked to sponsor the children, but to leave them in Malawi, has re-written the lives of four very fortunate children. In a sense, in her commitment to work in children, Madonna has adopted all Malawi children, to be cared for through the Raising Malawi charity organization.
The four (David, Mercy, and the twins) are her children, and they call her Mom as do her two biological children. There are plans that Madonna is in the process and has picked a beautiful house in Portugal. It appears David is a keen soccer player and has a chosen team in that country; Madonna has told her family, “we are going to Portugal, so David can play soccer there.”
Another thousand words.
Adoption is a process whereby, a vulnerable child is delivered from a life of destitute and poverty; stands to inherit what belongs to the parent; thirdly, the adopted child becomes a member of the family; and lastly there is an intimate parent-child relationship.
The President and Vice President of Malawi and the whole world, saw all these four optics in place during the Tuesday ceremony.
Madonna Ciccone hugged her daughter Mercy James in an emotive moment.
Madonna worked with 20 partners to make the Mercy James Centre a reality. The Centre will help to give Malawian children better treatment and advance research in malaria. Minister of Health informed that there are 76 children out of 247 patients, who are waiting to be referred abroad for cardiac surgery. He outright asked Madonna to include cardiac surgery to the Mercy James Centre.
President Mutharika thanked Madonna for the Centre and said she has exhibited the real spirit and symbol of a loving and caring mother.
To Madonna, we say “we celebrate your beautiful inspiring spirit Mama Madonna. Malawi appreciates you for adopting our country for your philanthropy, through the charity organization Raising Malawi. Thank you for re-writing the lives of your children.”