At home with Cape Town’s famous quads
DRUM visits Inga Mafenuka and her quadruplets at home
FOUR pairs of booties and an array of colourful blankets sway on the line in front of the biscuit-coloured house. It’s a peaceful scene – until a cry echoes from inside, which in turn sets off three more wails. Since bringing her babies home, Inga Mafenuka’s life has revolved around attending to the four little people she brought into the world amid much fanfare.
She gave birth to two boys and two girls, nonidentical, at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town on 6 July (‘A special delivery’, 8 August). It was the first quadruplet birth at the hospital in 10 years and the first conceived naturally without the help of IVF.
Mom and babies remained in hospital for several weeks until doctors were satisfied the quadruplets were strong and healthy enough to go home. Bubele, Bungcwele, Bunono and Buchule – who weighed between 800g and 1 000g at birth – have grown a lot and now each weigh about 2kg.
Inga (22) and the quads live in a small two-bedroom home in Ikhwezi, Khayelit- sha, with Inga’s mother, Luleka Mafenuka (40), aunt Bongiwe Ncamazana (21), sister Ndivile Mafenuka (18) and nanny Nozintombi Saba (49).
Despite having plenty of help, Inga – who was studying information technology at Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology when she fell pregnant unexpectedly – still has her hands full caring for the babies. “They’ve taught me to be really responsible at a young age. I’ll never go out again,” she jokes.
Inga’s partner, who she doesn’t want to name, works at a clothing factory in Parow and helps support the babies. “He feels really proud to be a dad.”
THE babies sleep peacefully as we talk. An enormous box of nappies is propped up in the corner of the living room, with packets of baby formula stacked around it. “We use between 40 and 50 nappies a day,” Inga says with a glance at the pile.
While she mostly relies on breastfeeding, the babies also drink formula and go through up to two 400g packs a week.
“We don’t really have a feeding routine for them,” she explains. “I feed them when they’re hungry and normally wake up four to five times a night with them.”
The babies don’t have cots and at night Bungcwele, Bunono and Buchule sleep in the middle of the double bed with Luleka and Nozintombi. Inga cuddles up in the single bed with Bubele, the tiniest quad.
After Inga was interviewed on Cape Town radio station KFM, LottoStar pledged a generous donation every month for the babies’ first year.
Tygerberg Hospital and Dis-Chem also donated baby products to help the overwhelmed first-time mom. Despite the financial strain, there’s no shortage of love in the house. “We don’t have a close extended family,” Inga’s mom Luleka says. “My children are my family. This is why I consider the quads to be blessings from God. He saw we were few and now we have four new family members.”
RIGHT: Four babies can be overwhelming, but Inga Mafenuka (FAR RIGHT) gets help from nanny Nozintombi Saba, aunt Bongiwe Ncamazana, and her mom, Luleka Mafenuka.