The father of the African child Madonna plans to adopt praised the pop star for opening “the way for a better life” for his 13-month-old son and questioned legal attempts to delay the adoption.
“Madonna was like a bulldozer who has cleared the way for a better life for my son,” Yohane Banda was quoted as saying in an interview in Bunte magazine, set to appear on newsstands Thursday.
Banda left his son, David, with a Malawian orphanage, where Madonna found him, after the boy’s mother died shortly after childbirth — a relatively frequent occurrence in the impoverished African nation that suffers from high rates of maternal and infant mortality. He lost two other children in infancy to malaria.
He rejected efforts by a human rights group to hold up the adoption to make sure no Malawian laws were broken.
“Madonna explained to me that she wanted to adopt my son,” Banda was quoted as saying in the interview, which took place Friday. “She assured me she would take good care of David and raise him in peace.”
“I told her that the most important thing for me was that she offered my son a good future. And then I agreed to the adoption.”
The people in his village considered it an honor that Madonna had adopted one of their children, and Banda said he slaughtered a goat to celebrate with the whole family.
Banda was asked if it would have been better for the 48-year-old pop star to give him money so he could raise his son.
“She knows what to do with a lot of money, and I don’t,” he said. “I could not have started anything with the money, and in the end it would have only spoiled things for me and David.”
Madonna has told NBC “Today” show co-anchor Meredith Vieira that Banda had refused her offer of financial assistance to help him keep his son.
“I said I would be happy to ... bring him back to your village and help you financially raise him. And he said no,” Madonna said.