17 Aug 2020
Almost two years ago, Thando Buthelezi welcomed five babies into the world. Now in lockdown, they are appealing for help.
In early September 2018, Thando Buthelezi had been expecting the arrival of her triplets. But what was meant to be three, turned into five: Thando gave birth to quintuplets. The birth of the five babies at the Clinix Botshelong Empilweni Private Hospital in Vosloorus made headlines, as they were the fifth set of quintuplets to be born in South Africa since 1960.
Now, on the cusp of their second birthday, the quintuplets are doing well – all things Covid-19 considered. While the terrible twos are all part of parenting, 2020 has brought huge financial strain for Thando, thanks to lockdown.
“It’s been hard,” says Thando. “The quintuplets’ father has no salary coming in, and, because I am a receptionist at a gym, I’ve had my salary cut by half.”
Known affectionately as the ‘big five’, Siyanda, Sibahle, Simesihle, Silindile and Sindisiwe are reaching all their milestones, but mom is struggling.
“I’m a single mother now,” says Thando. “I’ve had to move back home with my mom and my two younger sisters, who are in matric and grade 10. We, along with my twins and quintuplets, live in a two-bedroom house in the township.”
A month after the birth of the quintuplets, Cuddlers donated a year’s supply of nappies and wipes to the Buthelezis. At their first birthday, Cuddlers’ Marketing Executive, Murray Booth, committed to continue supplying the quintuplets with nappies and wipes until the end of 2020 – but the family of 11 needs additional support to keep going.
“Murray has been helping all this time, but I don’t know what I’m going to do about potty training when they turn two. They need clothes, high chairs, and toys. It’s very hard,” adds Thando.
“2020 has been very tough for everybody,” says Booth. “So many small families are struggling, so I can’t imagine what Thando is having to deal with.”
Booth adds that Cuddlers will continue to help Thando with nappies, pants and wipes for as long as possible, but she is in desperate need for further assistance in other early-development areas to help her “big five”.
“I challenge anybody reading this to reach out to Thando and offer her any means of help, in whatever capacity you can afford.”
If you are able to help, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with QUINTUPLETS in the subject line, and you’ll be put in contact with Thando directly.