Any event that gets into the Guinness World Records naturally becomes a world-acclaimed event celebrated by all. Unfortunately, this cannot be said to be the case with the recent story of the decuplets dubbed the Thembisa 10. Everything around them is shrouded in secrecy, mystery, denials and controversy.
It has been almost two weeks now and no-one can say with any degree of certainty that they do, in fact, exist. Even those who should, under normal circumstances, be proud of this historical achievement are also cagey about it, not coming out clean to tell the world about this miraculous occurrence.
There are allegations that they were delivered at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, a renowned public institution of excellence in Pretoria. So, why all the secrecy?
According to some reports, seven boys and three girls were delivered. Five of the babies born naturally and the other five by caesarean section. A proud moment by all accounts. So why the denials?
We need to know more about the team that successfully delivered 10 healthy, though premature babies while closely monitoring the mother's condition, making sure that she comes out unscathed from this monumental experience, because multiple pregnancies are fraught with complications.
Strangely, not even a picture of these miracle babies has been published in any newspaper.
The first newspaper to publish the story was the Pretoria News. The mother, Gosiame Sithole, has five other kids – twins and triplets. Coming from a disadvantaged background and being a single mother, she will need lots of assistance for her unusually big family.
So there is absolutely no wisdom in all the secrecy that might end up denying her all the help she could get. The Gauteng department of health has some explaining to do. It would be great to take ownership of our moment of entry to the Guinness World Records.