Celebrity do-gooder fail

It’s very nice that Madonna wants to build a school for girls in Malawi, but is there really nowhere in the country she can build it without evicting hundreds of people from their homes? Residents have refused to leave the site just outside Lilongwe, the capital. Lilongwe District Commissioner Charles Kalemba told 200 villagers Thursday ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images
MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images
MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images

It's very nice that Madonna wants to build a school for girls in Malawi, but is there really nowhere in the country she can build it without evicting hundreds of people from their homes?

Residents have refused to leave the site just outside Lilongwe, the capital.

Lilongwe District Commissioner Charles Kalemba told 200 villagers Thursday that the government land has been handed over to Madonna. The villagers have been offered other government land.

It’s very nice that Madonna wants to build a school for girls in Malawi, but is there really nowhere in the country she can build it without evicting hundreds of people from their homes?

Residents have refused to leave the site just outside Lilongwe, the capital.

Lilongwe District Commissioner Charles Kalemba told 200 villagers Thursday that the government land has been handed over to Madonna. The villagers have been offered other government land.

Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, who will be principal of Madonna’s school, says the singer paid the villagers more than 16 million kwacha (about $115,000) to compensate them for their houses.

After last year’s drawn-out adoption battle, Malawian judges must be getting pretty sick of dealing with Madonna.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.