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17 children - This woman can deliver

By Frank Maponya - frankm@sowetan.co.za | 2011-08-25 06:38:55.0

She's 47 years old and first gave birth at the age of 15

PEOPLE in her neighbourhood say the Limpopo woman can deliver.

At the age of 47, Jane Nkosi, from Kotsiri-Thabamoopo village in the Schoonoord area of Sekhukhune, has 17 children.

Her last child was born in June this year.

Nkosi has given birth 21 times, with two sets of twins being born.

The unemployed mother could have 23 children, but four died after birth, one of who was a twin born in 2005.

Her husband, Mbaleko Shabangu, is also unemployed, making it difficult for the couple to provide for their children properly.

Nkosi first gave birth at the age of 15, from the same man she is married to.

According to medical research, it is dangerous for a woman to conceive at her age.

Speaking during a visit by Sowetan yesterday, Nkosi said that, except for the last born, all her other children were born at their home. Her husband helped her to give birth.

The last born, Mpumelelo, was born through Caesarean section.

"I developed complications towards my delivery date and also started feeling pains in the body," Nkosi said.

She said the nurses who attended her delivery advised her to avoid falling pregnant again as it would be dangerous to her life.

Nkosi went for a sterilisation after her last birth so that she would not fall pregnant again.

When asked why she did not use birth control, Nkosi said that because of her poor level of education she was not able to get proper advice on birth control methods.

Even though the family stays about 3km from the local clinic, she would not visit the centre for advice on birth control.

Of the 17 children, only one (her fourth born) has matriculated. He was employed at a local mine for about 18 months until he was retrenched in December last year.

The rest of the children either left school before reaching matric or are still in the lower levels of their schooling.

The family is staring poverty in the face and cannot afford school uniforms for the children, let alone their school fees.

Apart from the two-roomed house they lived in, the government also built them an RDP house, which the family has supplemented with another two-roomed shack.

But there is still a need for more rooms because the family is cramped when they sleep at night.

Nkosi said the family was surviving on child support grants, which paid for six of her children and four of her grandchildren.

"But the money is not enough and we appeal to government to help us," she said.

Government spokesperson Joe Maila said they would continue to support the family "to keep them going".

"We are also looking at enrolling one of the children, especially the one who passed Matric, as an auxiliary social worker," he said.

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