At 12.12pm on 12/12/12, a baby girl at the Melomed Hospital in Mitchells Plain took a deep breath and let out a wail.
On Wednesday, the Cape Argus visited mother and child. Samantha Manikivana, an MTN consultant from Nyanga, was cradling her newborn in her arms. She sang softly into her baby’s ear, and smiled widely as nurses took cellphone photos of the pair.
“I haven’t named her yet, but my feeling is that her name should be Lihle. It means ‘beauty’ in Xhosa, and that is exactly how I feel about her. She came into this life at a magical moment and I am sure her life will be blessed and full of happiness as a result,” Manikivana said.
The date that doctors had predicted for the birth had been December 10.
“But, my manager at work said that my baby was going to be born on that special day,” she said. “I wasn’t sure whether to agree with him or not, but it came true. The fact that the exact time played out like that as well is just amazing.”
Staff at the hospital were still chattering with excitement late on Wednesday afternoon. Lynette Smith, the nurse who helped deliver Manikivana’s child, said: “Look at my watch, it’s 6.25pm. It’s exactly 12 hours since I came on shift!”
“When we started approaching that magical figure I kept thinking ‘is this really going to happen?’ By noon, I thought we were going to miss it, but then the baby’s little head popped out and I knew we were on the money.
“At exactly 12 minutes past 12 the birth was registered. We all celebrated, clapped and hugged each other.”
Across the country, it turned out to be a very lucky day for another mother. Baby Chidozie was also born at 12 minutes past 12 at McCord Hospital in Durban.
The significance of the number 12 becomes apparent when one considers that each day is divided into two 12-hour parts (am and pm), each year has 12 months, there are 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 days of Christmas, 12 Apostles, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 Old Testament prophets.
For the last time this century, the day, the month and the year are all the same number 12/12/12.
Cape Argus, The Mercury