Reports of the birth of ten babies in South Africa were bogus, regional authorities cited on Wednesday, quoted by the BBC. Gosiame Thamara Sithole, a woman whose photo with a bulky pregnancy belly circulated in foreign media, has not even been pregnant recently – added the press release.
The news that 37-year-old Gosiame Thamara Sithole, mother of six-year-old twins, had given birth to ten children was the first to be reported by the Pretoria News. According to the report of the newspaper, which quoted the woman’s husband, the birth was to take place in one of the hospitals in the capital of South Africa, Pretoria. Teboho Tsotetsi – husband of Sithole and supposed father of ten babies – said that on June 7th, doctors by Caesarean section helped his “seven sons and three daughters” come into the world at 29 weeks pregnant. If this information turned out to be true, it would be the largest healthy birth in the world known to be.
A South African journal followed the story of 37-year-old Gosiame when it was revealed that she would give birth to – as originally thought – sextuplets. After a few months, doctors announced that they would be octopuses, and eventually – “after seven months and seven days” of pregnancy, there are 10 children of the couple in the world – we read.
Authorities: the woman was not pregnant
On Wednesday, the website of the British broadcaster BBC reported that an official investigation showed that the story of the birth of ten children was not true. Authorities in Gauteng Province, where the record childbirth was to take place, said that no hospital in the region had experienced a similar event. As added, medical tests have shown that Sithole hasn’t even been pregnant recently.
According to the BBC, the 37-year-old has been under psychological observation since Friday. The provincial authorities did not give reasons why the woman made up the story.
Confusion around “10 of Tembisa”
Gosiame Thamara Sithole and her husband lived in the city of Tembisa, near Johannesburg. According to Independent Online (IOL), the publishers of Pretoria News attended the same church as the editor-in-chief of Piet Rampedi. In May, he was due to interview a couple who told him they were expecting eight children. Photos from this period show Sithole with a sizeable pregnancy belly.
The unexpected birth of ten babies was announced by Pretoria News on June 8, the day after the alleged birth. The newspaper referred to the reports of the woman’s husband. Teboho Tsotetsi maintained that he received information about the birth from his wife, but was not admitted to the hospital himself due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BBC said. According to the British broadcaster, the editorial office of “Pretoria News” did not receive confirmation of this information at the hospital.
Information about the birth was also confirmed by a representative of local authorities. Ten-year-olds were called “10 of Tembisa”, and the couple received a wave of donations from private individuals. The payments in the amount of one million rand (approximately PLN 267 thousand) were also to be made by the president of IOL Iqbal Surve.
The story of the birth began to raise suspicions when Pretoria News initially did not reveal which hospital was about to give birth, and other institutions in the region denied that a similar incident had happened with them. In addition, a provincial government spokesman, referring to a confirmation given by an official, later said that the local politician was only relying on family assurances, although no one had yet seen newborns.
Despite emerging doubts, the publisher of the Pretoria News newspaper maintained that the story was not false. According to the IOL, she was fed up with childbirth at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH) in Pretoria. The media company claimed that the facility allegedly had been neglected, which the regional medical authorities wanted to hide.
“These accusations are untrue, unjustified and serve only to tarnish the good reputation of Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng Provincial Government,” said the regional government’s statement. Legal action will be taken against the editor-in-chief of Pretoria News and Independent Online, it added.
Main photo source: BBC, IOL, Africanews