Cape Town - Last week marked the beginning of ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ (GBV) and observes the 30th anniversary of this civil society initiative, which this year is themed: “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”
In recognition of the undeniable fact that many women and children face the scourge of violence and are taken advantage of every day of the year, and do not ever feel safe, Independent Media dropped Episode One, called “The Crisis”, of its docuseries today, which deals with the spectre of human trafficking in South Africa.
Entitled ‘Baby Trade – Tracking the Truth’, the mini-documentary is an eight-part short form digital series born out of the front-page story that made headlines around the world.
We are of course, talking about the Tembisa 10 – the decuplets born to one Gosiame Sithole sometime in the night of the 7th of June 2021 at a hospital in Gauteng, South Africa.
The story was at first welcomed for the celebration it should have been but was swiftly thereafter decried as “fake News.”
Without doing any investigation to prove otherwise, the South African media immediately castigated Independent Media and Piet Rampedi, editor of Pretoria News who broke the news.
There is a complete absence of any official registration of the births of these babies and no record of them at any hospital.
This should have raised questions and led to other media houses delving into the topic. After all, why would anyone go to the extraordinary lengths of claiming to be pregnant, claiming to give birth to not one, not two but 10 babies and have it publicly declared, if it was not true?
The risk of being found out in such a giant lie would seem too great.
Yet, instead of reporting on this, most of the media simply scoffed at the notion that anything untoward could be happening in our hospitals and branded Gosiame as a mad woman and liar. A scammer. Independent Media did not escape the ridicule and name-calling either.
Standing by its editor who had an unshakable faith in the truth of his story, Independent Media launched several subsequent investigations including external investigators and a formal inquiry into the journalistic procedure.
These elicited the strong likelihood that Ms Sithole had been pregnant, and had in fact, given birth to multiple babies.
The findings, which include the probability of a trafficking ring, were announced at a press conference in October, at which the upcoming docuseries was also revealed.
Commenting on the release of Episode One of this highly anticipated docuseries, Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Independent Media said: “There has been an exponential rise in the number of human trafficking cases globally. South Africa is no exception. Women and children are falling prey to unscrupulous syndicates dealing in slavery who supply the voracious appetite of sickening monsters. We simply cannot allow this to happen.
“Our forthcoming docuseries aims to not only validate the birth of the decuplets, but importantly, to support the heroic efforts of those involved in combatting trafficking and to make citizens more alert to the possibilities of what is happening around them. What our team discovered in the making of this series is deeply disturbing.”
The Gauteng Government, aided and abetted by much of the South African mainstream media, have been quick to oppose any mention of the possibility of trafficking in the country, and out of its health facilities. Yet, there are countless reports and cases of missing children each year that say otherwise.
In fact, as will be shown in Episode one, trafficking in South Africa is so much of a problem that the 2021 Trafficking in Persons report, has downgraded South Africa to the Tier Two watchlist because amongst others, authorities have not done enough (and in some cases nothing at all), to combat trafficking.
So, if the rest of the world knows trafficking is an issue in this country, and there have been numerous well-documented articles on Africa’s trafficking trade, why the denial by those in authority in South Africa? That’s the million-dollar question of course….and some of those answers will be explored in the forthcoming episodes of what promises to be a riveting exposure of the dark side of giving birth in South Africa and the profitable trafficking of babies, only some of whom reach the arms of prospective adoptive parents. Most…are never seen or heard of again…
All episodes of Baby Trade will be released during the 16 Days of Activism. They are a must to watch and can be viewed on Independent Media’s digital channels.