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Quintuplets are 'fun and a challenge to raise'

The quintuplets whose father Joe Buthelezi and mother Prudence are adapting to life with their five bundles of joy.
The quintuplets whose father Joe Buthelezi and mother Prudence are adapting to life with their five bundles of joy.
Image: Masi Losi

It takes at least two nannies and about R700 worth of baby formula per week to raise South Africa's favourite quintuplets.

Joe Buthelezi, the father of five babies who were born three months ago, told Sowetan about the joys and challenges of looking after multiple bundles of joy in one household.

Buthelezi's partner Prudence gave birth to babies Sbahle, Siyanda, Simosihle, Slindile and Sindiwe at the Botshelong Hospital in Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni on September 6. Siyanda is the only boy among his sisters and the biggest of the lot.

"The babies are growing up very well and starting to recognise us and things around them. They are laughing and responding to our conversations with them.

"They are all gaining weight steadily and have gone for their first check-up with a thumbs up from the doctor," Buthelezi said.

He said adjusting to a new life with the babies after they came home from the hospital has been an interesting ride.

The family has employed two helpers, one for the day and the other for at night.

"The ideal situation though would be to have two helpers both day and night. The two helpers would then be complemented by us.

"To manage these babies properly, three individuals should at all times be looking after them. We are unfortunately not able to afford extra two helpers," Buthelezi said.

He said the babies go through an average of 500 nappies and R700 worth of formula per week.

The parents have already started picking up on their children's unique personality traits.

Sindisiwe might be the smallest of all the babies but she is active and makes the loudest noise while her sister Simosihle "is warm to touch and makes sharp eye contact".

Slindile exudes independence and prefers to be left alone, according to Buthelezi.

"She does not want to be touched all the time and cries if you keep making a noise or carry her in a rough manner," added the proud father.

Their entry into the world came as a surprise for the couple as they were expecting to deliver triplets but Buthelezi said the family had adjusted well to having the babies around.

He said the babies were trained to follow the same eating and sleeping pattern.

"They eat every three hours, they carried this routine from hospital.

"They eat at the same time or close to the same time. They used to sleep after every meal; however, this is changing as they grow up. They now stay awake after eating and spend this time trying to communicate with us," Buthelezi said.

When Sowetan visited the family's Boksburg home, Buthelezi kept showering them with compliments for their matching outfits. "You guys look so cute," he said.

Buthelezi said they try to coordinate the baby outfits daily.

"We try and dress the girls in identical clothing. The boy is dressed differently although we try and keep their colours the same," Buthelezi said.

The quintuplets have gained a lot of fame since their birth. The children have had high-profile visitors who brought them gifts .

Buthelezi said the family felt blessed to have the quints, despite the difficulties that come with taking care of them.

"The look in their eyes brings joy as one appreciates the gift that God has bestowed on us and the added responsibility of taking care of them."

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