On Monday, a man who claims to be the father of Mercy James, the Malawi child Madonna is attempting to adopt, said he is ready and capable of taking care of his daughter in their home country in the first of a three-part interview with the CBS Early Show.
“I want to take care of her, and I’m capable to take care of my baby,” James Kambewa said. “Mercy, she is a Malawian, so [I] need her to grow as a Malawian… with our culture.”
Kambewa — who said he earns about $20 a week doing odd jobs — told CBS he was originally notified of the child’s birth via a letter that erroneously said both the mother and child died in childbirth. He said he has only seen his daughter in newspapers and learned of his daughter’s possible adoption through reporters.
Lucy Chekechiwa, the child’s maternal grandmother, told CBS that all she knows of the child is that she has been in an orphanage since the day she was born.
“I did not want my granddaughter to be adopted,” said Lucy Chekechiwa, Mercy’s maternal grandmother. “But because they have been persistent enough, I have been forced to let my granddaughter go.”
Madonna’s spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, wrote in an e-mail message to The AP that there is no evidence Kambewa is the girl’s father.
“Her mother died while giving birth to her and no family member has ever come forward to claim this child,” Rosenberg wrote. “And now some man appears out of the clear blue sky claiming to be the father.”
Malawi officials will gather Monday to discuss the singer’s appeal request.