About 200 residents of a village in Malawi have been told to leave their homes to make way for the construction of Madonna's $15-million US Raising Malawi Girls Academy.
"The district commissioner for Lilongwe told the villagers to move off the land and [make] way for the construction of the academy because it was government land reserved for development projects," a Malawi government official told Agence France-Presse.
Residents of Blantyre, just outside Lilongwe, Malawi's capital, have threatened to block the project, despite receiving more than $115,000 US from the singer in compensation and being offered other land by the government.
On Thursday, village leader Binson Chinkhota addressed a crowd of 200 protesters, insisting they make way for the school. "We have been compensated," he said, "and this school is a pride for us as it is the future of our children."
Madonna broke ground for the school's construction last year, and the school's principal, Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, said the project is on track to open next year. It will enrol 500 local girls from poor families.
The school's land has been leased to Madonna's Raising Malawi charity for 99 years. The charity supports children's projects in the country.
Madonna has two adopted children from Malawi, Mercy, 5, and David, 4. She also has two biological children, Lourdes, 13, and Rocco, 9.