Facebook ChecksFact CheckMainstream

Claim 37-year-old South African woman gave birth to decuplets, false

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

CLAIM: 37-year-old South African woman delivers decuplets to break a world record.

Claim 37-year-old South African woman gave birth to decuplets, false

VERDICT: FALSE. The Guinness World Record (GWR) currently recognises a Malian woman, Halima Cisse, who delivered nonuplets in 2021 in Casablanca, Morocco. Multiple media reports highlight controversies surrounding the birth of decuplets by Ms Sithole, dismissing every iota of truth.  

Full Text

On Monday, August 7, 2023, a Facebook user, Babies First, posted a seemingly incredible childbirth story involving a 37-year South African woman who purportedly delivered decuplets in a single delivery.

“Incredible achievement: South African woman, 37, breaks world record with the birth of 10 children(.)” The user informed.

Along with the post, the user posted numerous pictures of the woman with her husband and infants. Also attached with the post is a related article written by Beautiful Life and published by Media Guide Internet Database (MGID).

The article identified the woman as Gosiame Sithole, 37, who recently gave birth to “10 babies” and “could break the Guinness World Record for the most children born in a single delivery.” It further mentions that seven boys and three girls were among the decuplets whom she delivered at a hospital in Pretoria.

Among the details of the story is Ms Sithole’s husband (whom we later identified as Tebogo Tsotetsi’s) revelation that before the delivery of the decuplets, Ms Sithole had delivered a set of twins and was only “excited to have more children.”

The story also mentions that the couple was hit with “criticism and disbelief” from people who termed their story a “hoax”. Ms Sithole and her husband had to tender medical records and ultrasound scans to restate people’s doubts. According to the article, the hospital also rescued the couple by confirming the situation.

But the reception to the news was quite different in the comment section as “congratulations” and heartfelt wishes continued to stream.

“Wonderful, thank God for you,” Fidelis Oguaka remarked. “Wonders of Almighty God. Congratulations,” Afusat Atinuke Braimoh wrote.

Overall, as of Monday, August 7, 2023, the post attracted 15,000 likes and 1,500 comments and was shared 184 times.

Due to the novelty of the news, we decided to check for the claim’s veracity.

Verification

We first checked the Guinness World Record (GWR)’s official website. We discovered that Halima Cisse, a Malian, who delivered nonuplets in a single birth back in 2021, is still the one recognised as the woman with the highest delivery of babies in a single birth. 

That discovery further made us check for news reports related to Ms Sithole’s story, and we discovered that multiple news outlets, including United Kingdom-based Independent, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and Nigeria’s Guardian newspapers, all in June 2021, reported that the news was false.

The Independent highlighted controversies surrounding the tale, and a report from the then-acting public protector, Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, termed the news a “lie”.

The UK-based news outlet mentions a “57-page report” made public on December 30, 2022 that unearths the fact that Ms Sothole was never denied access to her babies, and there wasn’t any evidence “that she had even recently been pregnant or given birth”. There were also records that she had not been to the Steve Biko Hospital since 2014, when she delivered her twins.

The Independent further wrote that such an intriguing story was quickly unravelled because there was no sign of babies anywhere.

In the uprising of the unamusing development, Ms Sithole was detailed to have been backed by both the editor of Pretoria News, Piet Rampedi, and the Executive Chairman of Independent Media, Iqbal Suave, who owns the paper, in her rather offhanded claims of being denied access to her babies.  

We further discovered that Pretoria News had done an exclusive interview with the couple and erroneously contradicted its report. It reported the birth of ten babies but explained the natural cause of only octuplets in its story.

But both Mr Rampedi and Mr Suave weren’t the only ones that backed Ms Sithole’s claims, as the Independent also reports that the gynaecologist, Dr Mpho Pooe, who was later discovered to be a fraud, also connived with the lot to uphold claims of denied access to Ms Sithole’s babies. The outlet reported that the trio and Ms Sithole claimed that the decuplets were real but had been stolen as part of a vast human trafficking conspiracy.   

This account was also corroborated by the South African newspaper, The Citizen, where the men were reported to have accused the doctors, social workers, the government and “anyone else who has ever demanded a shred of proof” of Ms Sithole’s decuplets of “human trafficking”.

The Citizen further informs that the Guinness World Record (GWR) has questioned the claim since they have not been able to verify the birth and “seen the babies.

Both Mr Rampedi and Mr Suave claimed that instead of 10 live babies, only eight were born, as two others, supposedly located in the mother’s fallopian tube, had died, according to The Citizen.  And this only highlights the contradiction and discrepancy we observed earlier in the recount of their story. 

But did Ms Sithole ever deliver the babies?

An official inquiry reported by BBC revealed that Ms Sithole, who lived with Teboho Tsotetsi, attended the same Church as the Editor of Pretoria News, Mr Rampedi. 

The latter was alleged to have interviewed the couple who informed that they were expecting babies with a photoshoot revealing a heavily pregnant Ms Sithole.

BBC writes that the announcement of a surprise of 10 babies was made by Pretoria News on June 8, 2021, with Ms Sithole’s partner, Mr Tsotetsi, as the source. 

Mr Tsotetsi said that he had gotten the news from Ms Sithole through text messages and that he wasn’t allowed into the hospital due to the coronavirus restrictions.

It was also reported that Mr Rampedi only relied on WhatsApp messages and was yet to get confirmation from the hospital.

It wasn’t until the local mayor confirmed the births that other news outlets reported it. However, the news could have as well been a hoax as a government spokesperson revealed that the mayor had only heard the family’s word and no one saw the babies.

But suspicion only grew when Pretoria News failed to disclose the hospital where the babies were born, and other hospitals in the area, Gauteng, publicly denied any association with the delivery.

BBC reports that ten days after the announcement, Independent Media (owner of Pretoria News) hit Steve Biko Academic Hospital with accusations. Furthermore, there was a fallout between Mr Tsotetsi and Ms Sithole, as the former announced that Ms Sithole was missing and asked people to stop giving donations to her. Meanwhile, Sithole also accused her partner of wanting to benefit financially from her babies. BBC quoted Pretoria news.

Ms Sithole was later found and admitted into the hospital for tests, as Gauteng local authorities informed.

But BBC informs of a leaked memo reported by News24 that Mr Rampedi apologised to Independent Media for reputational damage for not reporting the story as an investigative piece rather than a “feel-good story”.

Who are the babies pictured in the post?

We did a Google reverse image search and discovered that they are the 11 11 11 babies who were delivered at an In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in Surat, India. Fact Check also highlighted the story in an April 19, 2019 report.

Conclusion

The claim is false. Guinness World Record (GWR) doesn’t recognise Ms Sithole as the world title holder for the most delivered babies in a single birth. Multiple media reports highlight controversies surrounding the birth of decuplets by Ms Sithole, dismissing every iota of truth.  

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button