In May of 2010, when Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a Malawian gay couple were sentenced to 14 years in prison, international outrage was swift. They were arrested in their home the previous December for celebrating their anniversary.
Even U.S. pop star Madonna stepped up to the plate urging Malawians and her fans worldwide to stand against the judge’s ruling by signing their names to a petition.
Then, Madonna met with the U.N. Secretary General. After receiving the petition, Malawi’s President pardoned the couple and immediately released them.
Madonna, who adopted two children from the country, was overjoyed after hearing the news. The year before, she began construction on a girls school in Malawi, which cost her 15 million dollars.