Armfuls of joy as mother of conjoined twins gets to hold her babies on her birthday

Hospital team delivers on birthday promise

Friday, February 3 2017

There was not a dry eye in the room on Thursday evening as Bongekile Simelane reached out to hold her twin daughters for the very first time since their landmark separation procedure, which was undertaken ten days ago, on 21 January at Netcare Unitas Hospital.
According to Robert Jordaan, general manager of the hospital, the doctors and nurses made good on their promise to Bongekile that she would hold her formerly conjoined twins for the very first time on her 20th birthday, 2 February. They also went a few steps further by organising a birthday party and turning out en masse to celebrate Bongekile’s special day with her.”

“I am sure you will never forget this day,” said Jordaan to Bongekile at the celebration. “Having said that, neither would all of us at Netcare Unitas Hospital.  This is without doubt one of the more memorable moments in the history of our hospital. The past 10 days bear testimony to the skill and dedication of the healthcare professionals at our hospital.”

The clearly contented mother smiled down at her twin girls, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane. A month has passed since their birth at the Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki, Swaziland on 2 January, and for Bongekile and her husband, Mbongeni Shilongonyane, it has been a challenging start to their year.

Speaking through an interpreter, Bongekile said that the fact that she could hold her separated babies for the first time, together with the surprise party, the cake that the hospital baked for her, and the many doctors and nurses who specially came to wish her and her twins well, had made this an extra-special day.

Among those celebrating with Bongekile were the entire medical and nursing team who participated in the six-hour separation procedure and were responsible for their care following the operation.
According to Dr Marlene Engelbrecht, the paediatrician who is responsible for the overall care of the twins, they have recovered remarkably well and were taken off their ventilators a few days ago.

“Uwenzile and Uyihlelile are being fed three-hourly and are starting to gain some weight thanks to the wonderful care they are receiving from our highly capable nursing staff.”

“They are beautiful, responsive little babies. We foresee that they will go on to make their parents proud and will no doubt be keeping them very busy in years to come. We look forward to returning two healthy, happy little baby girls to their home in Swaziland in the next week or two, where their father and twin brothers are waiting to welcome them home.”

An overjoyed Bongekile Simelane, mother of Uwenzile and Uyihlelile, the conjoined twins who were recently successfully separated, laughs heartily as she holds her twin daughters, for the very first time following their surgery at Netcare Unitas Hospital on 21 January 2017.

Bongekile Simelane, mother of Uwenzile and Uyihlelile, the conjoined twins who were recently successfully separated, , cuts her birthday cake, which was specially made by the staff of Netcare Unitas Hospital.


One month old baby Uwenzile, sleeps blissfully as hospital staff and doctors sing happy birthday to her mother, 20-year old Bongekile Simelane, at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centrurion on Thursday evening.

Short video of Bongekile

Click here to view video



Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Unitas Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]