When a woman named Gosiame Thamara Sithole claimed she gave birth to ten babies at once, her story spread all over the world like a wildfire.
As it sounded incredible to many, authorities dig dipper and the real truth was revealed, which caused controversy and made many talking.
The news about the unique birth was initially shared by the news site Pretoria News in June 2021. They claimed that the 37-year-old mother delivered her babies at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in South Africa.
Allegedly, Sithole and her partner Teboho, from the working-class township in the Gauteng province, near Johannesburg, were initially told they were expecting eight babies and were left shocked after the birth of their decuplets. A number of world renowned magazines and outlets such as BBC shared this incredible story.
Pretoria News dubbed the babies as the ‘Tembisa 10’ and the story seemed legit as a number of details were involved. At the time, nothing spoke that the entire story could be made up.
Sithole was also reported to have spoken with Pretoria News prior to the delivery of her babies. According to the news paper, she said: “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 just 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.”
A story of a South African woman Gosiame Sithole who allegedly gave birth to 10 babies earlier this month is not true. https://t.co/IB9WT3T33Y
— Mpasho News (@MpashoNews) June 24, 2021
However, as many people became suspicious, authorities decided to dig dipper, especially because the story turned into a world news and the happy couple received plenty of donations. The thorough investigation showed that no hospital, state or private, had any records of such a birth.
What’s most, authorities claimed that Sithole wasn’t even pregnant in the first place.
“It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms. Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times,” the Gauteng Provincial Government said.
“It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times.”
The question which arose was why someone would lie about the number of babies they had or that they were pregnant in the first place? Well, it looks like authorities don’t have the answer to this question, especially because the author of the article which first shared the story stood by what he wrote. For long, he insisted the story was truthful.
“Instead of being a cause for celebration however, it has resulted in an orchestrated campaign to discredit the story, the mother of the decuplets Ms Sithole, the Pretoria News’ editor, Piet Rampedi, as well as Independent Media and its chairperson, Dr Iqbal Survé, with claims that the story is ‘fake news’. It is not and we stand by our story,” Independent Media said.
Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi has apologised to his colleagues for the damage his story on SA’s so-called “Thembisa 10” babies did to Independent Media’s reputation. https://t.co/nxfM16ifPt
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) June 22, 2021
As authorities threatened to pursue legal actions against the journalist who broke the news about the sensational birth, journalist Piet Rampedihe, who was also a close friend to Sithole and her husband, he confessed that his story might have contained some mistakes. He claimed that he saw Sithole with a huge bump and he only learned she had 10 babies after she texted him and told him that.
“Even though I stand by the fact that Sithole was pregnant, some aspects of the story could have been dealt with differently. Could I have handled the story much better? Definitely! Especially the verification process. Quite honestly, I never treated the decuplets story as an investigation at all. I used no investigative tool or checklist,” Piet wrote, according to News24.
He believed they had no reason to lie to him so he went on and published the incredible story.
It is still unclear why the mother lied about the pregnancy and the babies. In the meantime, the alleged mother has been offered help.
This story is still surrounded by mystery.