Reports of birth of decuplets made headlines globally last week when it was reported that Sithole broke the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive.
Sithole, a Gauteng woman, was reported to have delivered her decuplets in Pretoria on June 7, and supposedly broke the record previously held by Malian Halima Cissé, who gave birth to nine children in Morocco in May.
Sithole, 37 and a retail store manager, had six-year-old twins before winning global attention after her latest ‘birth.’
The South African government had said it could not confirm the authenticity of the birth hours after the media reported it.
Sithole’s ‘husband’ Tebogo Tsotetsi and his relations said they could not find the mother and her babies after her reported birth.
The Gauteng Provincial Government also said it combed all local health facilities and found no record showing decuplets were born.
According to Eyewitness News, officials of the Gauteng Provincial Government later found Sithole but could not confirm how many children she had.
We are not sure decuplets were born – ‘Husband’s’ family
In a statement on Monday, the Tsotetsi family alleged they had not seen the decuplets and their mother since her reported delivery.
The family claimed in the statement titled, ‘Family Statement On The Non-existent Of The Tembisa Decuplets’ that Tsotetsi had relied on Sithole’s call notifying him of the birth.
Tsotetsi had made several attempts to visit Sithole and the babies, but she had failed to disclose her whereabouts and the condition of their babies, said the family.
The family instructed donors and other well-meaning individuals who might want to support the children to withhold their aid.
“The current uncertainties and public discourse about the decuplets is of major concern to the family, especially in the absence of any proof of the decuplets existence other than telephonic and WhatsApp messages from the mother.
“The family has resolved and concluded that there are no decuplets born between Tebogo Tsotetsi and Gosiame Sithole until proven otherwise and wishes to apologise for any inconvenience and embarrassment…
“We appreciate the public interests and support for the decuplets, and with no proof of their existence, we firmly believe it’s in the interests of everyone to conclude that they do not exist until proven otherwise. We will now shift.”
There is more to Tsotsetsi’s claim than meets the eye
Available facts show there are issues between Tsotsetsi and Sithole.
Tsotsetsi was not the only person in his family who rejoiced at the birth of his ‘decuplets’ last Monday. His entire family did.
His family had issued a statement Wednesday night thanking South Africans for their support over the birth.
Totsetsi, who led his family to issue the latest statement, had told IOL: “There are not many words I have to express how I feel, but in reality, I am still shocked, excited and I feel blessed and I feel overwhelmed by the support that I am getting.”
IOL owns the Pretoria News that exclusively reported the birth.
Though the Pretoria authority claimed they could not find any decuplets in any public or private facility in the region, Gauteng’s Social and Welfare Department said Sithole was found with her babies. The department, however, refused to disclose the number of babies born by Sithole.
Totsetsi is a cheat, not Sithole’s real husband, alleges another woman
In a twist of events, Sibongile Gxekwa, who claimed to be real Totsetsi’s wife, accused him of being a cheat after the birth.
She claimed Totsetsi impregnated Sithole out of wedlock.
“When he started his escapades of going out at night, I confronted him about the cheating…. At the time, I didn’t know who she was.
“He has not told me anything about his new 10 children. He has ordered me to not speak to the media about this matter,” Gxekwa said.
Totsetsi and Sithole urged Pretoria News to keep report until after birth
It is not clear when Pretoria News conducted the exclusive interview with Sithole and Totsetsi, but there was an agreement: the report must be delayed till after the babies were born.
The duo cited cultural and religious reasons for their plea.
Gxekwa, who claimed to be Totsetsi’s wife, also said her husband warned her not to reveal the details of the pregnancy to anyone. The warning came after it had taken a long time for him to inform his wife about the outcome of his sexual escapade.
What Sithole, her boyfriend said during her pregnancy
The ICIR reports that Sithole and her boyfriend had exclusively spoken with Pretoria News, an online news medium, but urged that the platform delay the report for a cultural reason until she put to bed.
Sithole had more babies than doctors detected during scans. She was expecting eight; she had seven boys and three girls.
She had the babies 29 weeks into her pregnancy.
“I am shocked by my pregnancy. It was tough at the beginning. I was sick. It was hard for me. It’s still tough, but I am used to it now. I don’t feel the pain anymore, but it’s still a bit tough. I pray for God to help me deliver all my children in a healthy condition and for me and my children to come out alive. I would be pleased about it,” she had said.
“I didn’t believe it. I doubted it. I was convinced that if it was more, it would be twins or triplets, not more than that. When the doctor told me, I took the time to believe it. Even when I saw the scans, I didn’t believe it. But, as time went by, I realised it was indeed true. I battled to sleep at night, though.
“How would they fit in the womb? Would they survive? What if they came out conjoined at the head, in the stomachs or hands? Like, what would happen? I asked myself all these questions until the doctor assured me that my womb was starting to expand inside. God made a miracle and my children stayed in the womb without any complications,” she had added.
Her boyfriend said he was shocked when she learnt of the pregnancy.
“I could not believe it. I felt like one of God’s chosen children. I felt blessed to be given these kinds of blessings when many people out there need children. It’s a miracle which I appreciate. I had to do my research on whether a person could conceive eight children. It was a new thing. I knew about twins, triplets and even quadruplets.
“But after I found out that these things do happen and saw my wife’s medical records, I got even more excited. I can’t wait to have them in my arms,” Tsotetsi had said.
Previous records of most babies born to survive
A US woman Nadya Suleman had, in 200,9 given birth to eight children (two boys and two girls) at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Bellflower, California, making her a world recorder holder before Cisse.
She conceived her babies with the aid of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
The babies were nine weeks premature when she delivered them.
An Australian woman and another from Malaysia had given birth to nine children (nonuplets) in 1971 and 1999. None of the children survived after few days.