What was Madonna doing in Africa?

Madonna returned Malawi today for a very important cause, according to CNN.com. The 51-year-old pop icon plans to help break ground in Malawi for a school she is building in the impoverished southern African nation, from which she adopted two children. The school — Raising Malawi Academy for Girls — will focus on empowering women to become leaders, the singer said on a Web site run by her. It will be built in the capital, Lilongwe.

The singer has been involved with Malawi for several years and made a documentary, “I Am Because We Are,” to highlight poverty, AIDS and other diseases devastating children in the country. She also co-founded the nonprofit Raising Malawi, which helps feed, educate and provide medical care for the needy.–BB

Trouble started when the government withdrew her VIP status and she therefore had to wait in line like everyone else to go through immigration. President Joyce Banda said that Madonna felt her charitable work meant that Malawi should “be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude.”

For her part, Madonna described the reports as inaccurate, and and pledged to continue helping educate young girls in the nation. For some years now, Madonna had literally and figuratively adopted that country, and two of its children. She also made a documentary. But it was clear that her relationship with Malawi, like many other patron-client relations, would lead to quarrels and recriminations.

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