Yohane Banda, the father of the Malawian boy adopted by Madonna, is worried that he will never live down the stigma after Madonna claimed his other children and wife died of AIDS.
In an interview last week, Madonna told the Oprah Winfrey show that when she met baby David for the first time at his orphanage, she was told that his mother and siblings had died of AIDS and the whereabouts of his father were unknown.
Yohane has hit back, saying: “[David’s mother] never went for an HIV test and she died in Zambia at her parents’ house, so how could anyone know if that is what she died of?”
His two other children (not three, as Madonna said) were not HIV positive as far as he knew, with one dying from malaria and the other dying suddenly at 18 months old.
Madonna also said she was told that none of David’s extended family had visited during the child’s time in the orphanage but Yohane insists this was “a lie”: “I visited David many times, too many to count.”
He added that David’s grandmother also visited and Yohane’s brother, Profera, “saw him almost every day, sometimes twice a day”.
However, Yohane doesn’t blame Madonna for making the claims - he blames the Home of Hope Orphan Care Centre orphanage for giving her “false information”. A spokesperson for the orphanage denies that Madonna was told those details, suggesting that the Malawian government’s Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare was responsible for the stories.