Malawi: Developing countries need more Madonnas

Malawi President Peter Mutharika interacts with Madonna

International pop star Madonna should be hailed for her charity work in Malawi. BRIAN LIGOMEKA observes that developing countries need more Madonnas.

Every human being has strengths and weaknesses. If there are those who believe they do not have weaknesses, they are probably suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

From what is happening in the political circles in the world, the number of people suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder is on the rise. Just imagine some of them are being elected as presidents and prime ministers.

Individuals with such disorders are easy to identify. They do not empathise with others as they are pre-occupied with an inflated sense of their self-importance.

One psychology scholar observed: “The hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration. People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding.

“They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment. These characteristics typically begin in early adulthood and must be consistently evident in multiple contexts, such as at work and in relationships.”

Because people with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are superior or special, they do not wish to accept that they have weaknesses. As a matter of fact people with the disorder do not accept criticism and defeat.

If you meet people who exaggerate their own importance and are preoccupied with fantasies of their own success, power, beauty, intelligence or wisdom just know that you are in company of a narcissist. The unfortunate aspect of such people is that they disregard the achievements and the feelings of others. Notoriously known for their arrogance, narcissists mistakenly believe that they are always right and others are wrong.

Just this week, some individuals suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder rushed to the mountain tops to make blaring criticisms against international pop diva Madonna who has adopted two more children from Malawi.

Their criticism is that Madonna is using her celebrity status and wealth to cut corners when adopting children from Malawi. As far as they are concerned Madonna is wrong to adopt children from Malawi without following every letter of the law.

Some critics are suggesting that Madonna has just been adopting children just to prop up her popularity. The argument goes on to suggest that if Madonna had a true spirit of charity, she would have found other means of supporting needy children and orphans in Malawi instead of adopting them.

We are living in a free world where people are entitled to their views and opinions. This explains why some actions by celebrities such as Madonna divide the opinion of many people. Even loud-mouthed narcissists make their views known.

I am also entitled to my own views. In my opinion, Madonna has demonstrated her passion to assist needy children in Malawi and those who criticise her charity work should quickly take a Narcissistic Personality Disorder test.

For starters, Madonna set up a charity Raising Malawi in 2006. Through her charity she is looking after 700 needy children and orphans. She has also built schools blocks at a number of primary schools in the southern African nations. In the health sector, through Raising Malawi, Madonna is building a 50-bed ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre which will benefit hundreds and hundreds of children. Besides these initiatives, she has adopted four children from Malawi. If this is not a true spirit of charity, what is it?

I am mindful of the criticism that Madonna sometimes persuades government officials to fast-track adoption processes. That is indeed true but such critics should realise goods laws are made to serve the well-being of humanity and not to inconvenience them. Good laws in society lead to the progression of society. There is absolutely nothing wrong in fast-tracking an adoption process with the purpose of serving the well-being of needy children and orphans. Sometimes the end justifies the means.

If you ask me, the developing nations such as Malawi needs more Madonnas who can build children hospital wards and schools blocks. The developing world does not just need vocal fault-finders, narcissists and critics who see everything from a negative point of view.

As a human being Madonna has her own shortfalls, but her charity activities show that she is doing commendable work. People are free to criticise Madonna for any of her shortfalls, but to criticizing her for constructing a 50-bed paediatric ward, or for building school blocks and supporting 700 orphans in Malawi is unjustified