At home with Cape Town’s fa­mous quads

DRUM vis­its Inga Mafenuka and her quadru­plets at home

DRUM - - Contents -

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.”

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BY KAUTHAR GOOL PIC­TURES: MISHA JORDAAN

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.

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