Indeed, even the most cynical Hollywood-watcher couldn’t fail to be moved by Angelina’s description of the hell from which her new daughter had been removed. The little girl’s natural mother had, according to Angelina, died of AIDS.
Malnourished and suffering from rickets, six-month-old Zahara was, it was claimed, just days away from death when Angelina found her at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, nursed her back to health and adopted her.
Although they knew Zahara had family back in Ethiopia, Angelina and Brad have chosen not to visit Awassa, the lakeside town where the little girl was born. Had they done so, they may well have been shocked by what they found.
The Mail on Sunday has discovered that not only is Zahara’s mother, Mentewab Dawit Lebiso, alive and well, but that the man who arranged Zahara’s adoption has been waging a campaign of threats and intimidation against her family.
When rumours surfaced last week in America that all was not as it appeared with the paperwork, the American headquarters of the international adoption agency Wide Horizons For Children initially insisted that Zahara’s mother was dead. And yet in Ethiopia, the man who brought Zahara to the agency knows Mentewab is alive and has been attempting to shut her up.
Last week, The Mail on Sunday travelled to Zahara’s home town and talked, through interpreters, not only to the extended family but to Mentewab herself.
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