Our Amagluglug baby: Joburg mom gives birth at a petrol station

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Phumelelo Mahlabi with her boyfriend, Mochoko Moloi, and baby Lwandle. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Phumelelo Mahlabi with her boyfriend, Mochoko Moloi, and baby Lwandle. (PHOTO: Supplied)

She was looking forward to her baby’s arrival.

Phumelelo Mahlabi was due to give birth on 3 December, but she got the shock of her life when her son made his entrance so early she had to give birth in the car outside a petrol station after her mom got lost on the way to hospital.

“I always tell people we got lost at the right place,” she tells YOU.

“I saw and felt the true spirit of ubuntu.” 

Phumelo (33), lives in Naturena with her mother, Anbrima and her daughter, Akwanda (13).

On the morning of 2 November, she woke up feeling fine.

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Baby Lwandle has been spoilt by Sasol with gifts and money. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Later that day her boyfriend, Mochoko Moloi, fetched her at her mother’s house and the couple went to his house a few streets away where they spent the day watching movies. 

At around 3pm Phumi, as she’s known, started feeling pressure in her abdomen but Mochoko's mother, Matelo Mofokeng (48), told her the baby might just be turning.

READ MORE | Cape Town man dubbed the 'Cape Flats doula' helps to deliver his baby brother at home – and now wants to be a paramedic

By 6pm the pressure in her abdomen had increased and her boyfriend massaged her back. She then got into a bath to ease the pain.

“I think in that moment my water probably broke,” Phumi says. 

The pain began to worsen, making her feel even more uncomfortable. 

“It slowly got into my head that I was about to give birth,” she says. “I started noticing contractions and I started timing them.”

Matelo called Phumi’s mom, who arrived with Akwanda in her Land Rover. The contractions were so bad that Phumi had to crawl to the car.

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Proud grandmother Anbrima is happy to have a new addition to the family. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Matelo, sat in the passenger seat while Anbrima drove everyone to the South Rand Hospital.

The hospital was only 10 minutes from their house, but Anbrima ended up taking the wrong turn in her rush to get her daughter to the hospital in time.

“I ended up not knowing where to go,” she says.

Anbrima had remembered passing a garage, so she turned back to seek help.

When Letitia Visser, the owner of the garage, heard the commotion in her forecourt, she assumed the worst.

“The last thing I was expecting was a baby,” she says. 

“I walked with them to their vehicle to comfort them and when I arrived, the baby had already been born.” 

The baby, however, was in trouble.

The boy, who the couple named Lwandle, had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.

The family frantically started asking motorists for help.

“We asked people for scissors or a razor,” Phumi says. “Mochoko came to my mother and presented her with a box of matches,” she laughs.

“He was crying more than me.” 

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Phumi and her son, Lwandle, who she now fondly calls Amagluglug.(PHOTO: Supplied)

Letitia (59), who has owned the garage since April 2004, quickly sprang into action. 

She called for an ambulance and contacted her good friend Michelle Pelser, the Fidelity ADT south branch manager. 

Michelle managed to get hold of an off-duty paramedic, who arrived on the scene within minutes. Letitia also took a blanket and pillow from her office for the baby and mother. 

Paramedics had advised them not to cut the umbilical cord as they were on their way, but the ambulance too got lost on the way to the garage.

The off-duty paramedic came to the rescue when she provided a peg and cut the umbilical cord. 

Phumi and Lwandle were later taken to the hospital.

Because he was born prematurely, doctors had to monitor his breathing for a few days. 

Phumi was discharged the following day and went to hospital every day to breastfeed her son. 

On 8 November, she finally got to take him home with her. 

READ MORE | Mom’s midnight birth on the streets of Joburg – with a little help from the cops

Upon their discharge, she received a box of goodies for the baby from Sasol.

Sasol also gifted her with R20 000 and a voucher to the value of R5 000, and little Lwandle received headsets and branded clothing. 

It’s little wonder the baby has been nicknamed Amagluglug after an old Sasol television advertisement about a baby whose first words to her grandparents were Amagluglug. 

“Everybody calls him Amagluglug,” Phumi says.

“I even catch myself calling him Glugy. My friends, cousins and neighbours call him that too – the name is just going to stick with him.”

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