A mayor that affirms it, a government that contradicts it and a hospital that is tight-lipped. South Africa has been captivated for a week by the mysterious pregnancy of a 37-year-old woman, who, to the astonishment of many, is said to have given birth to a ten. Outside the family, no one has actually seen the children yet. If true, Gosiame Thamara Sithole has set a new world record. But the Guinness World Book of Records has still not received confirmation after days of investigation. What is going on?
The newspaper Pretoria News published the controversial scoop on Tuesday, which was established on the basis of conversations with the family. International media then quickly took over the message, albeit with reservations. There has been no official confirmation.
A BBC correspondent later in the week finally got what it seemed like the long-awaited confirmation from a government official, but at the same time, a fellow official caused confusion again by saying he still hasn’t seen the babies and nothing is certain yet.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, born and raised in Tembisa near Johannesburg, gave birth to three boys and seven girls via Caesarean section, according to her family. She was seven months and seven days pregnant, her husband told South African media with emotion. “I’m happy, I’m emotional. I can’t say much. Please let’s talk again tomorrow,” said Teboho Tsotetsi.
Around the start of the pregnancy, Sithole was told she was expecting sextuplets. That news came as a big surprise, especially since she and her husband are already parents to six-year-old twins. The couple was told that they could expect not six, but even eight, children during the pregnancy. Two children turned out to be hidden behind their brothers and sisters in the womb.
The surprise was all the greater Monday night when doctors found out that they had missed two more children on the scan. With that news, Sithole would break a world record, but The Guinness World Book of Records has still not been able to verify it.
“It was difficult for a while, but now I am very happy,” the mother told local media earlier this week. She speaks of ’a miracle’. “Thank God all my children were born healthy.” Sithole suffered from sleepless nights throughout the pregnancy due to the restlessness and stress she experienced because of her unborn children.
“How would they fit in the womb? Would they survive? I asked myself all these questions until the doctor assured me that my uterus was starting to expand inside. God performed a miracle, and my children remained in the womb without complications.”
To date, no photos of the children have been released. According to the husband, this has to do with the fact that the children were born prematurely and therefore need rest and medical care. The lack of a photo or video of the children, however, creates suspicion in the country.
According to critics, the reports that the family has started a crowdfunding campaign and that the mother would be ‘missing’ for some time also undermine the credibility of the story. The government has now confirmed that there has been no question of a so-called missing person.