Schoolchildren pelted reporters’ cars with stones to keep them away from Madonna on Tuesday as the pop star visited the orphanage where the Malawian boy she is adopting once lived.
The U.S. star, wearing an African-style wraparound skirt and knee-high leather boots, eventually calmed the fracas at the Home of Hope orphanage in Mchinji by inviting journalists inside, where she posed for photographers clutching little David Banda.
Witnesses said they saw David’s biological father Yohane Banda, who has complained he struggles to get information about his son, and David together while Madonna chatted separately to children at the orphanage, where the boy was placed after his mother died.
“It feels great,” Madonna, 48, told reporters, when asked how she felt to be back in Malawi. She sparked controversy and a media frenzy during her first visit to the poor southern African nation last year with her plans to adopt the boy.
The pop star, who was greeted by a group of singing orphans, said she did not know whether David had spent time with his biological father during the visit.
Earlier, Malawi police and stone-throwing school students blocked journalists from covering Madonna’s visit.
Teenagers in black-and-yellow uniforms from the secondary school in Mchinji hurled stones at journalists’ cars and formed a protective ring around the building, and police stopped reporters from following the convoy into the compound.
“We are under instruction from the orphanage not to allow any press to go in, because it is a private visit,” a police official at the scene said.
The director of the orphanage Monday vowed security during the visit would be tight and that Madonna’s camp had requested the media be kept out.
Madonna eventually invited journalists into the orphanage where she answered a few questions and posed for photographs with David Banda and 9-year-old daughter Lourdes.
Since the pop diva arrived in Malawi on Monday, accompanied by David, Lourdes and her film director husband Guy Ritchie, Madonna has been trailed by a pack of journalists.
Madonna’s spokeswoman has denied media reports she plans to adopt a second Malawian child.
Madonna visited Malawi in October and took custody of David, then 14 months old, who was in the orphanage after the death of his mother. The move sparked controversy and raised concerns that regulations were being swept aside to benefit a pop star who has been generous to the country.
Madonna has said she has followed the law.
Madonna is visiting Malawi to oversee her charity projects in this impoverished country. She aims to provide food, education and shelter for up to 4,000 Malawian children through her Raising Malawi organization. She is also paying for a new clinic to be built in the village of Gumulira and is supporting efforts by aid groups to help improve food security and education there.
The visit comes some six months after the couple signed interim adoption papers for Banda, who will stay with Madonna and Ritchie for 18 months before a decision is made by the Malawian government on whether to finalize the adoption.