Friday, October 13, 2006


Today is Friday 13th. Before coming to North America I never knew about the superstitions associated with this date. Now I know, I have never believed in superstitions in my life. Should I start now?

Apart from being a non-believer when it comes to superstitions, there are things that I consider “bad cases” when I see them. I believe that is a power of imagination, you can call it self-inflicted superstition. As an African (not every African will tell you this) coming from a normal African family, I have been taught to never give away my pride. The only exceptions allowed is when I deem extremely necessary to do so.

As far as I believe, pride is not a bad thing. It only hinders unnecessary foreign forces to come in, to conquer, to destroy, and kill your mind and soul. It’s a good self defense and roadmap for knowing yourself, your purpose and light for the future.

Over last week the media gateways were busy carrying out a story about
Madonna adapting an African boy from Malawi .Apart from all the criticisms that has aroused following these news, I support what Lady Madonna has done for a young Malawian boy (David) in Malawi. Even if I have my personal reservation on who should adopt any child in the world, I welcome any assistance or support rendered to the poor, the underpriviledged, innocent children wherever in the world. If I was to get into details about my reservation, the cultural heritage and understandind would lead my case.

Nevertheless, I hate the way the boy’s dad (Yohane Banda) has buried his pride of fatherhood/ parenthood. How could he give out his son to a stranger (it doesn’t matter if it’s super star Madonna) while he is still alive, able to work, better his life and support his family including his little boy? What exactly is going on down in Malawi?

We have to remember one important fact, adoption is not like a support which can be cancelled anytime.(unless if the laws in Malawi are different) Legally you are giving away all your rights to someone who agrees to adopt your child. That is what this Malawian father has just done. From his interviews that I have seen, it appears that he was not clearly advised of his rights. He thinks he is overjoyed by the fact that his boy “goes to America” not knowing that his parental contract with his son just ended.

Now where is the pride of being a parent? What happened to the dedicated and unlimited love of a parent? Or did he agree for the terms out of same word LOVE? How many of you are ready to do what this father did (if you are a parent)? Another question that lingers in my mind is that, Is Madonna doing this out of love or seeking fame? Is adopting African children a new “made in Hollywood” fashion or PR strategy? Do africans know about this possibility?

And the last tough question. What if this boy’s mother was alive? Would she have given out her son? Many questions, few answers.


Scout said...

i haven't read the stories jeff, only seen thte headlines. but it does raise a lot of questions.

one is the overall life of being a celebrity with a gazillion dollars. that madonna has held onto her stardom for so long is her consistant extrovertism and trend setting. some stars like madonna, sting, bono, feel compelled that they not just be 'celebs' but they contribute to the world with their fame.

so, does madonna actually believe she's contributing, and if so, why adopt from africa when theres american babies to be adopted?
i guess it's bringing attention to the plight of many african countries.

almost seems odd the man does not have family to take care of his that makes me wonder if he's in the city , which can cause so much disenfranchisement from family. was he desperate or led astray???

like you i have no answers because we'll probably never know the entire truth.

btw, happy friday the 13th :) (when we were kids it scared us to death. as adults it's just another day and we make fun of it because we remember how scared we were as kids)

Jeff Msangi said...

You raise a very interesting point "why adopt from Africa when there's americans babies to be adopted"?.I think this is a very legitimate question and not trying to interfere one's choices of where to adopt from.Thousands of kids are homeless and orphans following Katrina.How many celebrities are adopting those kids?
By the way,I have heard that a court process has been introduced in Malawi to denounce the adaptation.Madonna has failed to leave with the baby.

Trio Kaka said...

Sometimes adoption is said to be more helpful to some of those who adopts kids than to the kids that are being adopted.

If some one for any reason can not bear a kid they use adoption as a therapy to fulfil their desire to having kids. Some people are just lonely and so they decide to adopt in order to rid themselves the loneliness addiction.

The other group of adoptors is the celebs group, they do so sometimes just to elevate their fames!

I am writing this with apologies for those who adopts kids for genuine reasons.

Peter Mtui said...

Jeff,As much as I like your brain storming article I would still urge you to stick to reality and truth about Africa.You partly seem to have aquired a sort of western mentality,I'm deeply sorry to say that but I can feel it.Poverty can force people to do strange things.While Tanzania could be rated amoungst the poorest nations in the world there are countries in the world where "dirt meets the dust".We in Tanzania used to line up for food supply back in the 70's,but that is not the worst because at the end of the day we had something to eat.the worst poverty level is that of having nothing to eat,it deprives your ability to think logically.You will have time to philosophies as long as you have a full stomach and a place to sleep in.I'm living and working in Austria,I thank God for many things..but will never forget what I have seen in my life in Africa.We all came to the west to better not only ourselves but also for the ones we left behind.I remember when I was about to fly to Europe my whole family conducted a special prayer so that God paves a way for me.We Africans a good hearted people but poverty stops everything for us.We really need support to come out of this situation,thats why I see Madonna move as a way to draw attention to africa.I never loved this woman as much as I do now.Bono of U2 is another angel in my eyes,I almost cried when I saw him at Larry King show talking about Africa.You need Famous figures to get things moving.The reality is most of people in the west dont care about Africa and to make matters worst even the media will give a person like Madonna a bad coverage for doing good!!,just to put africa not on lime light with its plight.It is sad.But you have to be a conscious person to realize and who could be in a better position to realize that than you and me?.Let us understand Africa,our moral standards are destroyed by biggest enemy called "POVERTY"

Jeff Msangi said...

Thanks a lot for your input.Its always a great pleasure to read comments from brothers like you.

I will agree with you on the fact that there are some westerners who are truly commited in helping Africa.I know couple of friends,some of them are my readers here and wherever I write the Shine Africa philosophy.

On another hand I could applaud what Madonna has done for the Malawian kid.If I have sounded anywhere like I oppose such moves,that is not what I meant.

What I meant is that we africans can solve our own issues regardless of how huge they are.We should not dare run away from them or just give away our pride and blame poverty for everything.That is where I also mentioned what I called parental pride and responsibilities.

Also while welcoming help from any well wishers, we also must be careful on who for what purpose theme.Lets face it,the PR people in Hollywood and elsewhere are now seeing Africa with its poverty issues as a catch 22.Are we gonna accept to be used as PR bridges just because we are poor?I for one would not!Would you Peter?

Peter Mtui said...

Well I had my share of sceptism for along time until I began to see things logically and clearly.Actually its part of my character to doubt anything that comes in the first place until it proves otherwise.Jeff, I find it hard to say this but Africa's troubles are enorm.We will never make it alone until we get the help from the international community.Help in many forms including equal partnership in all economical transactions. Jeff,we are dying in Africa for useless causes,we cant deny help.We must be wise enough to realize that.Time will come when we will stand on our own feet.My last visit to Tanzania was very positve ,I could see young people fighting for study opportunities.Things have changed,now we realize through education we change a lot.I think the whole thing which this adoption thing symbolises is "African plight".When western world begin to speak words like "African situation is a shame to the whole World" arent you curious to find out what they mean?.I think if the world doesnt blow up it will close up.I thank you Jeff,descussing with you is indeed a pleasure.I have afeeling we are both speaking matters of our hearts.

SaHaRa said...

What pride, Jeff, if you don't know where your next source of bread will come from?

Africans solving our own problems - for crying out loud, we can't even open our mouths to talk! Look at us in Tanzania with this never ending power problem, if it was another continent, I'm sure hell would have broken loose. But we sit back and just let it be. We will never be able to solve our own problems, Jeff! We are always looking at the next person to do it for us. Yesterday I was watching the Canadian Ambassador pointimg out our country's vast potential - in power supply, railway network etc - and I wondered, 'why does it always take the next person to open our eyes!' We are sitting on a gold mine of tourism, but what are we doing about it?

I mean, we are not even known for taking our own responsibilities, so how will we be able to solve anything? It's sad!