Malawian James Kambewa says he wants to keep his daughter in her own country

By People Staff
Updated May 02, 2009 08:45 PM
CBS' The Early Show

The man believed to be the biological father of Mercy, the 4-year-old Malawian girl Madonna is trying to adopt, says he he wants to raise her in his own culture.

“I want to take care of her, and I’m capable of taking care of my baby,” James Kambewa told CBS’s The Early Show in an interview to air Monday, the same day the court will hear Madonna’s appeal of the rejected adoption.

“Mercy, she is a Malawian, so [I] need her to grow as a Malawian … with our culture,” he said.

The hearing in Madonna’s appeal case will be led by the head of the judiciary in Malawi. The southern African country’s High Court had previously rejected her application to adopt Mercy Chifundo James.

In his interview, Kambewa tells The Early Show that he’s never met his daughter and has only seen her “in newspapers and TV, not face to face.”

Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said she doesn’t know if Kambewa is the girl’s father and that Mercy has been in an orphanage all her life, according to the Associated Press.

The singer, 50, found Mercy, whose teenage mother had died, at Kondanani Children’s Village in the town of Bvumbwe when she first visited Malawi in October 2006, the same time she found David Banda at a different orphanage.

Madonna is not required to attend Monday’s hearing.