In June 2021, news began circulating about a Pretoria woman who claimed to have given birth to ten babies. The alleged birth of the 37-year-old Gosiame Thamara Sithole’s decuplets started as a Guinness Record-breaking celebration, and ended in the biggest controversy South African journalism seen (perhaps ever).
Months passed, and a rollercoaster of stories later, South Africa is still unsure as to whether or not the #Tembisa10 are real.
As a nation, we were offered a statement from the father, Tsotetsi (which was later retracted), a missing persons case after Gosiame disappeared, physical examinations showing no signs of a recent birth, mental examinations claiming instability, and court case after court case.
One thing we do know: South Africa was taken for a ride and Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi was in the drivers seat.
This Wednesday, Independent Media will be taking the wheel. In a statement released on Monday, October 25, the media house wrote:
“Independent Media’s reputation has taken a beating over this story. There’s no denying this. But, as it has done for over a century of integrity and breaking stories, when it is wrong, it admits and makes reparation.
“However, in order to determine the truth, and therefore whether reparation is required, investigations are needed.
“In this case, there have been several concurrent fact finding missions — internally by the editor, the office of Independent Media’s Press Ombudsman, Independent Media’s investigation division, and an independent external investigation, chaired by Advocate Michael Donen.
“What they have discovered is nothing short of explosive.”
The statement ends on a note of suspense:
“On Wednesday [October 27], a press conference will be held at Newspaper House in Cape Town. Here the truth will be revealed.”
Will there be a #Tembisa10 after all?