SEEING TRIPLE: Triplets Merle Lotterie, Marlon Johnson and Melanie du Toit celebrated their 50th birthday on Friday.
Cape Town - Back in 1968, Christine Johnson gave birth to not one, but three healthy babies, the only triplets born in the Cape that year.

The Cape Argus featured the rare birth at the time and last week the triplets celebrated their 50th birthday.

The trio are identical girls Melanie du Toit and Merle Lotterie, and Marlon Johnson.

Marlon said they had been close since day one and he had the role of protecting and looking after his sisters.

“Being part of triplets was very special. The sisters are very identical and because I was the only son I looked after them. It was a nice feeling.”

He said they were recognised in the community as kids and even now, as adults.

“Our bond was strong, there were times when we had arguments but we would rectify that. Until now, we have kept that strong bond between the three of us.”

Marlon said although they had shared a womb, there were a lot of differences between them.

“In general we are all a bit different - Melanie is very strict sometimes and Merle is more relaxed and I am the more outgoing one, I am the nice guy. But we get along. We’re not that different.”

Their older sister, Rochelle Jansen, said she was 5 years old when the triplets came into her life. “I can’t really remember much of it but there was a lot of excitement, people came to look at them and were making a fuss, and there were photographers coming in and out to take pictures of them.”

Jansen said it was always interesting and exciting growing up with triplets.

“We were quite popular at the time. We got a lot of attention everywhere we went. Sometimes I would feel left out, because they got more of the attention, but I enjoyed growing up with them.

“They made our lives worth living and we had fun together.”

Jansen said when they were younger, the three were identical and she remembers how they found humour in how people outside the family would get mixed up.

“When we were teenagers we grew apart and did things with our own friends, but we got closer again in our 40s and we are still very close now.”

She said their family received a lot of help, particularly from “the Sharp family” who ran a successful business in Sea Point.

“They practically adopted our whole family. They promised my parents that they would leave an inheritance for the triplets in their trust fund. A few years back there was an ad in the paper that someone was looking for the triplets, we think it may be connected to that but we are not sure. We would love to know who it was.”

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Cape Argus