Madonna landed in the African nation of Malawi on Sunday – but not without controversy.
The singer, 50, was accompanied by her daughter Lourdes, 12, and sons Rocco, 8, and David, 3, whom she adopted from Malawi last year. And she and Lourdes visited Chinkhota Village, where Madonna has purchased a large tract of land to construct a girls’ school there, which sources say is modeled on the Leadership Academy for Girls that Oprah Winfrey built in South Africa.
Although the village chief thanked the singer for her “generosity,” some residents were less enthusiastic amid fears that they would lose their ancestral lands and crop fields.
“We are told to leave our gardens after this year’s harvest; we are told our houses are to be pulled down – but nobody is talking about compensation,” said Esinati Nkhoma, a local mother of four. “Where will we move to?”
A senior government official said issues of compensation for the land are being handled by Raising Malawi, the charity established by Madonna.
When a journalist asked Madonna whether she was worried about the land concerns, she shouted back, “No!” Later, Madonna and Lourdes were heard asking villagers “Muli bwanji?,” which translates to “How are you?” in Malawi’s native tongue, Chichewa.
On Monday morning the star is scheduled to appear before a high court judge to process her second adoption. When a bystander asked, “Are you adopting another kid from Malawi?” she replied, “I don’t know.”
But courts records show she plans to adopt 3-year-old Mercy James, whose single teenage mother died at age 18.