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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


So Madonna’s attempt to adopt an African baby developed k leg. I don’t get it. Wasn’t baby David supposed to be an AIDS orphan, one of the tragic statistics of a continent ravaged by AIDS where most of the adults are dead or dying leaving kids to raise kids? When did baba David resurrect? I am generally uninterested in the shenanigans of the over rich, over pampered western celebrity. I think they should shut up and sing, dance, act, party, kick the ball or whatever it is they are overpaid to do. Yeah well except Bono. Bono is sexy. I like Madonna especially in her material gal days, this maternal gal Madonna confuses me and the arm muscles scare me but the black baby backing African Madge vexes me, that is one photo op too many men! Ironic that she is blaming the media for the cock up on the adoption, why, pray tell were there that many cameras covering every angle of the story? Isn’t that the real story? Even the great philanthropic media manipulator of the noughties, Angelina had enough sense to start small. Her first forays had low level media attention and adopting Maddox was quiet enough and even to my jaded mind genuine and unforced. She only got high on the extra sex appeal of being a sexy (god she is, she is, a little less so with that brad person tailgating her) connected, compassionate superstar but it was a process. Madonna cant just jump to the end result. This in a continent that has a lot of genuine charity workers from all over the world working silently.

My director was doing the typical Nigerian thing cursing the Malawian father for disgracing Africans before the West. What arrant rubbish, since when has the actions of one confused (who no go confuse under all that camera lights) Malawian peasant represented the whole of Africa?
The very fact of this entire goings on underlines the tendency of the West to over simplify Africa into a meaningless footnote. Once it was the pictures of war and famine, now it is the faces of Aids. The celeb with starving baby pictures have been replaced by the celeb carrying, kissing and backing cute African orphan pictures. Famine, drought, genocides, Aids and death happen in Africa as in other places but that is not the total picture. Africa will benefit more from a more rounded view of herself such that other people see that although she has her problems she is an entity like them that can be engaged for business, pleasure, science, philosophy and culture.
One of the problems of the west is the lens through which she sees Africa, which is by the way not a village in Zulu land but a vast continent of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Africa does not need AID, she need disengagement and then reengagement. The west needs to stop encouraging and supporting the most unimaginative and imbecilic amongst Africans at various leadership positions so that they can transact business in the most profit magnifying way. Read the Next Gulf on Nigeria’s oil crisis. The West needs to understand Africans and their ways rather that impose a western way. Most of the Aid that comes to Nigeria is wasted as it is passed through beaurocratic systems that pander to western egos, which are however deeply flawed, unconnected to the people and sometimes downright fraudulent. The conduits are usually people who understand the western red tape and have put structures that the west can relate to in place to defraud both the west and their own people. All these they do whilst grinning the likeable African idiot grin in colourful attire that so resonate with the West.
If the west saw Africa and Africans as human equals, poorer as many are in Eastern European and Asia but equal, they would never have stood by and watched Rwanda happen. If the west engages Africa on those levels (and elephants will fly) then we might begin to see true poverty eradication. Meanwhile, let us keep battling our west supported demons whilst we enjoy the exotic spectacle of yet another white woman playing Mary Slesssor with cameras.


Wordsbody said...

I think the baby's name is 'David'. I agree with you completely about the father. I feel so sorry for him, an uneducated peasant and a superstar, how can they relate on an equal footing? On another planet, maybe.

I bet Yohane Banda has no concept of what Madonna's world is like. He says he was told that she is a Christian woman who does a lot of 'charity' (her widow's mite is more like chicken drumstick change) and I'm like, 'Christian woman'? Madonna follows Kabbalah for heaven's sake! Since when was Madonna ever a good Christian woman? But a peasant, an onion farmer would believe that. There's no Kabbalah in his reality.

Poor man had the country's miniter visit him at home asking if he would let David be adopted; he set eyes on Madonna and Guy Ritchie for the first time during the brief court hearing... that was it... they had to rely on interpreters... how could the man have any concerns assuaged? It was a grossly unequal meeting. When he said he didn't know he was signing his child away for ever, I believed him. Madonna talking the talk on Oprah and working the Afrocentric Ankara was all in a day's work for a woman who is one of the most skilled media manipulators in the world. The media turned the heat on Madonna and Yohane must have had someone in the Malawian government lean on him, so he changed his story again, singing Madonna's praises. The Malawi government, after all, stands to make £3m from Madonna; let's not forget that the orphanage she's starting is to propagate Kabbalah religion o... this is the new 'missionarising' of Africa going on here. Forget about imported Islam and Christianity, it's Kabbalah now).

The victim here, is the boy's exploited father who didn't know what hit him and who has to play a game he doesn't understand. Being a peasant, uneducated and naive has never been a sin in my book. People should please not abuse the poor guy.

Someone said giving love to a child is not just about money, you've got to have a heart... Madonna took this boy because she could, the way she chooses a Prada bag...like fashion. On the day David arrived in the pop star's London home, she went to the gym for several hours. How many people would do that on the day a baby arrived into their lives? And imagine the poor child plucked from his black African village; what must he have made of this mansion full of white strangers? The whole thing is just... let's leave it.

David Banda is a beautiful boy though, and I wish him all the joy in the world; he's going to need it.

Anonymous said...

Haba Funmi, give the woman a break,she did something noble (by adopting an African orphan) despite her indiscreetness. Yankee people (as per Paparazzi), too do sha (and are duly the ones to blame), they are always ready to bite off the heads of celebs. rather than focus on more deserving events in the world.
Jolie is a rebel...she could couldn't care less. Whereas she's had her own share...Marriage Wrecker, who's even been accused of incest(for kissing her own brother on the lips)...bla bla...
we all as human beings get contour (check am)...However, we ought to give honor to whom it's due.And in my opinion, though Madonna (abi modern day Mary Slessor..that was funny)may have jumped to the end result, she was (at least)passionate enough to skip prior steps. "DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES, I am changing a life, isn't that what matters most?" She most have thought in her head...

keep the blogs coming Funmi, I will become a regular from Henceforth. Good job.

Marin said...

ehm, the baby's name is David, David Banda, not Matthew.

By the way, love your blog.

Christian Writer said...

It seems like sacrilege to add more to all you've said about your sister because all you've said is symptomatic of the situation of millions of Nigerian women. When I hear 18 year old ladies telling me that all they want to do is get married. I get worried. Surely, you must want to do more; live, find your own place in this world, do anything but do it all before you open up your mouth aged 18 and say you want to get married.

To this day, noone has ever truly sat down to explain to me exactly why one should be married. Okay, they have but we usually have a difference of opinion on the matter. I know many lovely married couples and I also know many more unhappily married people - especially women. Certain churches teach that married people are on a higher spiritual plane than non-marrieds which as far as I know is not based on scriptural truth. I wonder the kind of messages we're giving to young women. I get invitations to speak and I can spot a Nigerian/Pentecostal invitation a million miles away. They always inevitably start by asking me if I'm married. I never, ever respond. Mainstream invites are based on a person's achievements and I always respond to those. I would rather talk at an event with youths/womenanyone extolling them than go to some speaking engagement fighting against 'the demonic strongholds that's holding single women captive.' Purleese.

Is somebody's life summed up in a ring? The number of intelligent, sexy and financially independent women here in this England that I've seen been pressured by family and people back home to get married and until then are seen as 'less than' buggers belief. Shouldn't we be applauding these women and holding them up as role models instead of yakking on about them being married? I once told a pastor that I was going to adopt a child and he told me that it wasn't right for a child to be raised in a single parent family. Is he for real?!

My rant is not against marriage per se. I guess it's about situations like Funmi's sister and others like hers and the lives that could've been. Lord help us.

Pilgrimage to Self said...

Hey,was pleasantly surprised to stumble on your blog. I used to be a 'fan' of your programme when I still lived in Lagos - I loved Dr. Ogaga (did I spell the name right). Welcome to blogsville!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it really matters the frame of reference Africa is viewed but what we should consider is the way we see ourselves and others.

If Madonna wants to adopt the baby, I am wondering what the fuss is all about. She has the right to do what she feels like doing and I dont believe she is acting as a "Mary Slessor" as you choose to tag her.

Anyway the write-ups are thought-through but needs re-evaluating in the context above...

Anonymous said...

you know i was just talking about that with some friends. try as they might the west cannot convince us that they consider 3rd world country inhabitants as equal. if not why would the US report on every single US soldier killed without even reporting how many Iraqi civilians have fallen under the sword of this war.

Also, Madonna's motives are very questionable. She already has children of her own that are being raised by nannies and such...so she believes that "renting"/"leasing" an african child whom she would not have time to do more than carry for 5 minutes once a week is better than leaving him with his parents and contributing to the whole family's welfare. The money she uses to pay those nannies can feed the baby's whole family and then the rest of the village for months!

Anonymous said...

i thought i was the only one going out of my mind with anger anytime i read the story. at first i was like-why cant they just let her adopt baby david in peace. but then i got to know the koko. i have a friend malawian friend who gave me the low down about what angered the malawian humanitarians. so im like well... but then madge had to go further a say people againt the adoption were racist, guess she's ised to getting what she wants without due process(like its commonly used in nigerian politics). anyways, at the end of the day, from angelina to madonna, its all for publicity.

Toni Payne said...

Im still trying to decide if all these American Celebs going to Africa to adopt babies is a positive or negative thing. Angelina's adoption just seemed a bit more genuine than this whole Madonna fiasco.

soul said...

A - bloody men!.
I wrote about this and the whole 'black boy pet' scene being re-visited.

The facts are Foreign adoption in Malawi is a big no-no. And only granted in exceptionally rare circumstances.
And in keeping with Malawian and most internationl laws, a prospective parent must live inthe vicinity for a period ranging from 12 to 18months so that authorities might monitor them. WHY was the material girl exempt from this?

People keep yammering on about a better life, but a better life for whom?. Why is Madonna adopting a baby who already has a parent? Why did she swoop in and pick up a baby like one picks up a toy?.
Why are some Africans defending this bollocks?.
Are we back in the 18th century where it was fashionable to have a little black boy as an accesory?.

What about the child's welfare?
Madonna belongs to a religious set of beliefs which equate black people as slightly lesser than whites. He is already sporting the paraphenalia of said 'religios sect', so doesn't this just re-enforce the fact that he will be growing up in an environment that he is thought of as a lesser human being..
Isn;t there some form of age issue here, Madonna s pushing 50 for crying out loud! since when was it that easy for a 50 year old to adopt a child anywhere?

Let's not forget that this man was pretty much coerced into signing his baby away and some Africans are wondering what is wrong with this picture.
Every darn thing is wrong with it.
Why the heck are we soo eager to sell ourselves?

This is shameful and Madonna is shameless and so are the diplomats and the Malawian courts for allowing this farce to go ahead.

I heard something really funny a few weeks ago, apparently Britney spears thought it would be a good idea to adopt an African baby, and Winona rider's daughter asked her for a black baby to play with.
I wonder how far down the provebial Totem pole we are willing to go before we call foul play.

Black bodies are once again on sale and some of Africans are too busy trying to justify it, that we can't stop and think what this means exactly and see the re-occuring pattern.

I swear, every single day I become more and more aware of how slavery was possible.
I weak for my people o.

Funmi Iyanda said...

David it is abi? now where did l get matteuw? Any way l do not dislike Madonna and l am in complete support of adoption but the issues l raised are beyond madonna as a person but Africa and her place.

Christian Slater, what can l say. If only l can make people see the more far reaching effects on the society l would but hey one day at a time, one story at a go.

Anuoluwapo said...

Well... Now that "Africa" has become the new St. Tropez for the "stars"... I might as well say my piece.

I have made it a point of duty to correct as many ignorant oyinbos as posible, whenever I am out of the country, when they ask silly questions like "Oh, you're from Africa, no? Ah, I have a friend from Africa called Thula Zambezi.... you know him, no?" Shish!! Pulleeeaaaase!! Most of them dont even know "Africa" is not a hamlet of domiciliary, but a full fledged continent!!! (You go George Bush!)

Anjelina set a precedence, for whatever strange reason her creepy mind did, we would never know (This is not an attempt to dis her, I absolutely love her, but she is so mysteriously creepy). A lot of these "stars" are seriouly empty when nobody is there and they see Anjie... what she has and.... they want it also..... badly.... asap. Well, someone had better make 'em realise that adopting a "David" doesnt necessarily make you an "Anjie".

All I wanted to say.

Anonymous said...

Funmi, I suggest that we pay those oyinbos back in their own coin. This is not flattery, but, Funmi, you are a celebrity. So what I ask and beg you to do is to catch the next flight to America and go in search of a white baby to adopt. The reason you'll give is that you want to save the poor child from the "moral depravity" of American life, and from the prospects of annihilation by Osama bin Laden.

That's by the way sha o. I recently read a newspaper article on Madonna's adoption of David. As I raced through my eyes caught the following line:

"He was reported to be remarkably alert following the long flight."

Instantly, one of the tenants in my mind (a naughty goblin called Subvar Sieve) hiccupped very violently, and brought all mental proceedings to a halt. Here is what Subvar stammered:

"He [David] was reported to be remarkably alert following the long flight."

Yeah, right! The "African" boy, just one year old, but very alert after a long flight. Yeah, right. What else would you expect from an "african" child, already used to long periods of starvation, dodging landmines, wielding machetes and guns far heavier than him, and chasing lizards for breakfast, lunch and supper... yeah right, remarkably alert...

I asked Subvar to explain, but he just stared at me catatonically... he gets these spells once in a while, actually...

He hiccupped again when my eyes got to the last line of the article:

"The boy's father, Yohame Banda, has agreed to the adoption. "What I want is a good life for my child," he [boy's father] said."

I have been ruminating on Subvar's mumblings, and I am beginning to think I need a good life for myself too. I want to get out of this godforsaken africa.

Hi Bill Gates, are you there, are you online at this moment. Please come adopt me... I'm bright, I'm African... and, and, I promise you I'll do an MBA immediately you adopt me... with an MBA you can leave Microsoft in (my) very safe hands... I'm waiting, Bill... Say hi to Aunt Belinda... and my siblings-to-be...

And if Bill won't adopt me, perhaps you, Funmi, might :)))

Buki Omo-Alagbede

Anonymous said...

First things first!!!!!OMG!!!!!Funmi iyanda!I used to watc u liek everyday in nigeria!wow! and i found out about this blog thingy through face book!how hilarious!

Anyways concerning baby david!I just think people should leave maddona alone!Her interview on the oprah winfrey show if any one caugth that was so touching and inspirng that i really did feel a fool for always believing the cooked up stories the media feed us and we digest! I find that she really is opening her heart to a boy who would have been killed if hehadnt been saved by her, his father told her this. and shouldnt we as humab being and i say this not as an AFRICAN but as an individual be celebrating the fact that a life is been made better!...does it really matter that she had her wild day??No!i dont think so we all have those things which are better left bottled up and thrown into the ocean, but we are only able to protect these things because we arent thrown into the spotlight. she hasa made her mistakes and she is grown, it a shame that as human beings we can only judge and not celebrate...if we were i those sheos would we have acted any better??!....

I personally think baby david is lucky...and yes be fore i forget she made such a valid point when she stated that isnt it great that after all of his years with her, he would be able to go and help his people with the acquired skills he has been able to attain!....plus people are also very forgiving ofo angelina beacuse she has a father who is now considered the bad guy and her the St. magaret!...i think they are both courageos and highly fascinating! at the end of the day we shu d be happy that a child is being save d from a life whcih could have been horrendous and useless....a life of poverty and self degradation, alife of hoeples ness and in the end a useless death!

p.S Davids mother had AIDS not he.....he was lucky and yes LUCKY..!!!!!!