What’s this Ugandan craze at attempting Guinness World Records?

Ugandan chef Dorcus Kirabo will re-attempt to the record for longest time cooking on June 1, in Kampala.  PHOTOS /COURTESY/X/MWASUZE MUTYA

What you need to know:

  • BREAKING RECORDS:  Ugandans have intensified their interest in beating and setting all sorts of records to join millions that have since been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. From cooking to hugging, travel to hip-hopping, we have seen it all and ‘clapped’ as some successful ones received their certificates. Isaac Ssejjombwe dives into the whole Guinness World Book of Records craze. 

On Friday, May 3, Ugandan artiste Zedmonk Ssabatontomi, real name Akram Kabuubi, embarked on a mission to attempt to set the world record for the longest rap marathon by an individual.

The 21-year-old lyricist set a target to rap freestyle for 80 hours nonstop. In the process, he was to beat the record held by Japanese rapper, Poney who stood at 48 hours, one minute, and 10 seconds.

Poney had in 2023 broken Daniel Alcon’s 39-hour record. Upon his record breaker, Poney said: “Now that my record is nine hours longer than the previous record, it will be hard for anyone else to break.”

Perhaps, this is what challenged Zedmonk to submit a request to the Guinness World Record to break the longest rap marathon by an individual in January this year.

According to Kane Matovu, a member of Zedmonk’s team, after his application, Zed was given guidelines to follow, including a stopwatch at the set, video footage, papers signed by different attendees as proof, including media houses, a doctor on set, among others.

After his application was accepted, he also received more guidelines to follow health-wise; what to eat and not to eat as it may lead to disqualification, rest time of five minutes in every one hour, and 40 minutes in a full day. He had a choice to use the time given to him the way he wanted.

With everything set, Zedmonk started his quest a Friday at 5:30pm with a handful of people in attendance cheering him on. By Monday, 8:30pm, three days in, he had clocked 75 hours. He had five hours to the 80-hour mark.

“First of all, it is May 6 and we started on May 3 at 5:30pm and it is 8pm. I have stopped at 75 hours and we shall submit that. I hope they will accept. We have not lost. We have proved that we can do it and if it requires us to do it again, we shall do it. If it requires us to set a new date, we shall do it again,” the rapper said after the attempt.

Zedmonk had rapped for 75 hours and 21 minutes. He said he still had the energy to go on if it was not for the medical experts who had to stop him, citing health ‘future’ complications from the feat.

Zedmonk now awaits official confirmation from the Guinness World Records team to approve his attempt. When approved, he will be the new world record holder.

Born on November 18, 2003, Zedmonk Ssabatontomi is an award-winning artiste, freelance actor, freestyler, and humanitarian under the office of the Ambassador for Women and Girls Uganda, an influencer with RapAdverts, Founder/CEO TRT Entertainment Africa, Founder of the Zedmonk Foundation and host of an online hip-hop show called RapWithZedmonk. He started rapping in 2019 during his Senior Four vacation and released his first song, Byokola. His other songs include Amazima Agakaawa, Chama, Nakkoze Ki and Bow Before God among others.


Last year Chef Dorcus Bathsheba Kirabo, popularly known as Mama D, set her goal to break the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon by an Individual, aka Cookathon.

At 123 hours, 20 minutes, Mama D set a Guinness World Record as an individual by breaking Irishman Alan Fisher’s record for cooking for nearly 120 hours.

Fisher had set his record in Japan from September 28 to October 3 last year.

Mama D, who started her race on December 23, prepared almost everything, especially dishes from different parts of Uganda, said she was inspired to take on the challenge because of the variety of foods available in the country.

Despite spending days and hours attempting to break the record, Mama D was not successful. The evidence submitted to the GWR committee for review was found wanting. She has since claimed that the footage she submitted as evidence was blurry and contained lots of media coverage, which denied her a dream cap to her efforts.

She, however, will embark on a reattempt to set the record, including the largest number of people fed for the longest period  on June 1.

While appearing on a local radio station , Mama D revealed that she has already registered for the record with GWR and awaits their approval and guidelines on how she can attempt the record.

“I’m coming back! I have registered for a record, it is going to be my record or rather Uganda’s record. It is about “the largest number of people fed for the longest time. With all the love that Ugandans gave me, I can only give back that way. I registered for the record so I am waiting for Guinness to prove the registration and they will give me guidelines according to the record,” she said.

The team at GWR has since approved the reattempt.

Longest tree hug

Climate change activist Patricia Faith Ariokot embarked on the journey to attempt the Guinness World Record for the longest tree hug. This is an initiative to encourage tree planting and the conservation of forests.

On December 29, 2023, in Soroti, she surpassed the previous record of 10 hours, and five minutes set by Adrienne Long in September 2020, hugging a tree for an impressive 16 hours and six minutes.

In an announcement on her X social platform, the 29-year-old revealed that the review was successful and she was now the current world record holder.

She expressed her gratitude towards those who supported her on this journey.

“Dear Uganda TESTED. APPROVED. TRUSTED. I want to extend my greatest appreciation to all those who have supported me throughout this record. It has not been an easy journey, especially as I had to do this attempt three times. At 16 hours and six minutes, it is official the record is home,” she posted.

Ariokot had previously attempted to beat the same record on December 8, 2023, but faced a few challenges, including camera glitches, that made her retry the attempt.

Phaneroo team lead Apostle Grace Lubega holding the GWR certificate after members of his church clapped for three hours, 16 minutes, and one second, making their Clap for Jesus the longest applause.  PHOTO | COURTESY

Travel record

Last year still, a Ugandan known as Aleti Queenie Crystal, commonly known as Queenie among her friends wanted to break a record of travel with a Ugandan passport.

Driven by an adventurous spirit and an unyielding determination to challenge the boundaries of the seemingly impossible, Aleti’s vision was to embark on an extraordinary journey that would see her visit all 196 countries within 18 months using her Ugandan passport and her dream was to see the offerings different cultures and landscapes the planet has to offer.

Before this challenge, she had already travelled to 52 countries and was hopeful she would achieve her goal.

Other Ugandan Guinness Book World Record holders

Youngest reigning monarch

Still, Uganda is blessed with the world’s youngest reigning monarch in Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV of Tooro Kingdom. He is the world’s youngest reigning monarch, a position he took over from Mswati III of Swaziland who became king at 18.

Joshua Cheptegei

Uganda’s athlete Joshua Cheptegi holds the world record for 10,000 metres by a male clocking 26 minutes and 11 seconds achieved on October 7, 2020 in Valencia Spain.

The largest  rolex

The Ugandan delicacy that is made up of a chapatti and rolled eggs is encrypted in the books as the largest ever made. Weighing 204.6kg, the biggest rolex was created by Raymond Kahuma in Kasokoso, Wakiso District in November 2021. Kahuma and his team made it after preparations for months. The said rolex measured 2.32 metres in length and 0.66 metres as its thickest diameter.

What makes a Guinness World Records title?

Because record breaking is a serious business, the organisers have strict policies governing what constitutes a Guinness World Records title in order to maintain these high standards. Here is an overview of the considerations at the heart of any record assessment.

Measurable – They do not accept applications based on subjective variables. For example – beauty, kindness, loyalty.

Breakable – Record titles must be open to being challenged.

Standardisable – Can the record be repeated by someone else? Is it possible to create a set of parameters and conditions that all challengers can follow?

Verifiable – Can the claim be proven? Will there be accurate evidence available to prove it occurred?

Based on one variable – Is the record based on one superlative and measured in one unit of measurement?

The best in the world – Has anyone else done better? If your record suggestion is new then Guinness World Records will set a challenging minimum requirement for you to beat.

These are internal policies that all records must adhere to. They do not endorse:-

• Unsuitable activities or those which could cause potential harm or danger to spectators.

• Any records that endanger or harm animals.

• Excessive eating. All eating records are limited to short time periods and small quantities of food, such as fastest time to eat three cream crackers.

• Food wastage. We require any record relating to food to follow strict policies regarding food consumption and donation.

• Any record involving the consumption of alcohol as part of drinking contests, binge drinking or speed drinking.

• Illegal activities in pursuit of record breaking.

• People under the age of 16 to attempt or hold records which are considered unsuitable for minors.