Tembisa 10 story up for international award – and SANEF is furious!

It is way past April Fools, so this is no joke! The controversial Tembisa 10 story could bag a prestigious international award, and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is seething! Despite it being discredited, the story has been nominated under the category, “Best Use of Social Media” in the International News Media Awards (INMA), which are set to take place in June.

Here’s a reminder of what got us here: In June 2021, Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi broke the story of how the Tembisa 10 were born at an undisclosed Pretoria hospital. He had done an interview with Gosiame Sithole and the father of the decuplets, Tebogo Tsotetsi. But Gauteng authorities said they were unable to verify the births, prompting questions as to whether they even exist. The provincial government subsequently revealed that it had no records of Sithole giving birth at any private or public hospital – and Tsotetsi himself has admitted that he has never even seen the decuplets.


SANEF says it wrote to the organisers of the awards, in a bid to have the Tembisa 10 story removed from the shortlist, but they have failed. The INMA told the forum that it wasn’t in a position to reverse the nomination for the story, but SANEF’s Sbu Ngalwa isn’t satisfied with their response.

“This response is unfortunately not good enough for SANEF, as it legitimises a campaign borne out of a story that has been proven not only to be ludicrous, but also an embarrassment to South African journalism. Unfortunately, the embarrassment continues as the same newspaper group, a paying member of INMA, continues to publish more stories that seek to purport the legitimacy of the decuplets’ so-called birth. It is important to note that the ten babies are still to be seen and no proof has ever been provided that they do in fact exist,” he said.

The nomination is actually for Independent Media’s eight-part video series titled Baby Trade – Tracking the Truth, which claims theorises that the decuplets were actually trafficked – and that government officials were in on it.