From 'record breakers' to 'national baby shower': 5 stories you must read about the 'Thembisa 10'
SA has been in a tizz this week after it was reported that a Thembisa couple welcomed 10 babies, allegedly setting a world record.
Pretoria News reported on Tuesday that Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, had given birth to decuplets.
Both the national and Gauteng governments said they were unable to find any records of the births, while Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina confirmed that his office had met with the family, and released a statement on behalf of the family confirming the births.
Here are five must-read stories on the “Thembisa 10”:
Record breakers — but where were they born?
Pretoria News reported that Sithole, 37, gave birth to the children at a Pretoria hospital on Monday night. The name of the hospital was withheld.
The publication said it had interviewed the couple at their family home in Thembisa in May, but delayed the publication of the interview “at the request of the couple for safety and cultural reasons”.
However, after the news caught the nation's attention, the government alleged it was unable to verify the births at any of its facilities.
“The posts attribute the birth of the babies to Gosiame Thamara Sithole from Gauteng. Government has been unable to verify the authenticity of this birth at our facilities. We need to verify this story and provide assistance where needed,” said the director-general of government communications, Phumla Williams.
National baby shower
This did not stop SA from celebrating the news, as scores on social media said they were ready to plan a “national baby shower” for the couple.
Canned fish brand Lucky Star offered the couple a year’s supply of pilchards.
“We’ll make sure all of your bundles of joy are well-nourished,” it said.
SAfm radio show Beyond The Headlines pledged R 3,000 and two nappy packets towards the baby shower.
IOL reported that Sithole's husband had met Independent Media boss Iqbal Survé, who had pledged at least R1m to the family over a period of four years through his foundation.
Babies still nowhere to be found
On Wednesday, the Gauteng government maintained that it still had no proof of the babies.
Thabo Masebe, a spokesperson for the provincial government, told TimesLIVE: “We have no record of the 10 babies at any Gauteng hospital. Unless if they were born in the air, we checked both private and public hospitals and no-one knows about the case.
“Another question is, where are the obstetricians who delivered the babies and the paediatrician who is looking after them? No-one is coming forward.”
Social development spokesperson Feziwe Ndwayana said the department had not yet seen the mother or her babies.
“I can only make confirmations tomorrow because our social workers will visit the mother tomorrow ... We have not physically seen the mother and her children but the mother is our client, she has been our client since 2016. She has had twins before, so since that time she has been our client,” she said.
'We’ve found the family'
After days of speculations and curiosity, Masina said that the family had been traced and found.
“We’ve found the family and we are informed babies are well. We will share the information with national government. Some of our local comrades have been assisting this family,” said Masina on social media.
In a statement released on behalf of the couple, which Masina confirmed to TimesLIVE was legitimate, the couple thanked Masina’s office for the support the City of Ekurhuleni was offering.
“The family also wish to thank the office of the mayor in the City of Ekurhuleni for the warm visit and message of support and look forward to further engagement with the city in the best interests of the children. We welcome the beautiful ideas, including the suggested names, and we promise to keep you posted on their progress,” read part of the statement.
Aunt says the babies are 'fighting for their lives'
Speaking to TimesLIVE, the babies' aunt said the 10 were in an undisclosed hospital in Pretoria “fighting for their lives”.
She said the babies were born prematurely, but Sithole was in high spirits and receiving medical treatment with them in the hospital.
“The babies were born and are still in incubators fighting for their lives. They came at 29 weeks; the mother is still weak. And as a black family, we want to protect them. This is a sensitive issue,” she said.