Madonna 'Saddened' by Malawi Government's Criticisms

Pop star denies claims she exaggerated her charitable work

Madonna and her children at Mkoko Primary School, one of the schools Madonna's Raising Malawi organization has built jointly with US organization BuildOn.
April 11, 2013 3:40 PM ET

Madonna said she was "saddened" by the Malawi government's assertion yesterday that she made VIP demands during a recent visit to the impoverished African country.

"I was very happy to visit with the children of Malawi earlier this month and to see with my own eyes the 10 new primary schools in Kasungu province that Raising Malawi and buildOn completed this past year," the pop star said in a statement, addressing the government's claims that she exaggerated her charitable work in the country.

Madonna Calls on Boy Scouts to Lift Ban on Gays

In their initial letter, the Malawi government said Madonna's behavior was akin to "blackmail," and that she was essentially holding the country ransom over her two adopted Malawian children, David Banda and Mercy James: "It, therefore, comes across as strange and depressing that for a humanitarian act, prompted only by her, Madonna wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude," read a statement signed by State House Press Officer Tusekele Mwanyongo.

Rebutting such accusations as "lies" and "untruths," Madonna added: "I have no intentions of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations. I came to Malawi seven years ago with honorable intentions. I returned earlier this month to view the new schools we built. I did not ever ask or demand special treatment at the airport or elsewhere during my visit. I will not be distracted or discouraged by other people's political agendas. I made a promise to the children of Malawi and I am keeping that promise."

Madonna's Raising Malawi foundation had initially planned to build a central girls academy in the country, before deciding that smaller schools in villages around the country would be a more sustainable model. Organizational issues, however, got in the way and Raising Malawi's new efforts have since been met with resistance from members of the government, including President Joyce Banda and her sister, Anjimile Oponyo, a former Raising Malawi team member who now works in the Ministry of Education.

While the government claimed that all Madonna had done was build extra classrooms, not new schools, the pop star stressed that her 10 new schools were now educating more than 4,800 children daily in safe environments with as many girl students attending as boys.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »