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Faith Nyasuguta

It is often claimed that records are set only to be surpassed and subsequently replaced with better ones. For years, the Guinness Book of World Records has acted as an authoritative source for evaluating human records and outstanding accomplishments. Since its debut in 1955, many individuals today actively want to have their names added to the book.

During the early years of recognition by the Guinness World Record, only Europeans got the privilege to feature in this global list of achievements. Nevertheless, in recent years, great exploits by Africans have begun to be recognised by Guinness World Records.

Africa is referred to as the “Mother Continent” since it is the world’s oldest inhabited continent. Africa has more nations than any other continent, with a cultural diversity that includes hundreds of local languages and indigenous cultures.

The African continent’s ingenuity is beginning to be appreciated globally with more Africans holding a number of world records. Africa has a reputation of all the way in its efforts to spread its global influence, and this quest for advancement has led to the continent claiming multiple official Guinness World Records throughout the years.

Many of these records were set both collectively and individually; nevertheless, in this piece, we focus on some of Africa’s most spectacular individual achievements. Here are 7 Guinness World records held by Africans.

1 – Tuedon “Tee” Omatsola Morgan – Half Continent Marathon Records

/Guinness world record/

From an unfit 121kg mother of four boys, the story of Tuedon Morgan is quite thrilling. The accountant by profession had only one goal when she began her world-record-breaking adventure; to improve her unhealthy lifestyle.

Tuedon Morgan is a two-time Guinness world record holder in the female marathon; Fastest time to run a half marathon on each continent (female), with a record of 10 days, 23 hours, and 37 minutes, and the Fastest time to complete a half marathon on each continent and the North Pole (female), with a record of 62 days, 12 hours, 58 minutes and 49 seconds.

2 – Kimani Nga’ang’a Maruge – The Oldest Person to Begin Primary School


Time, they sometimes say, is the enemy of man. However, there is no wrong time to do anything. We guess those were the thoughts of Kimani Maruge who went to enroll himself in a primary school at the age of 84.

The Kenyan man enrolled himself as a first-grade student at Kapkenduiywo Primary School on January 12, 2004. In 2005, he was elected as head boy of the school. Subsequently, in September 2005, he travelled to New York City to address the United Nations World Summit, speaking on the importance of free primary and secondary education for all.

When asked why he made such a decision, he said the government’s declaration of universal free primary education in 2003 influenced his choice. This is one of the interesting Guinness World records held by Africans.

3 – Johannes Relleke – Survivor of Most Bee Stings


According to MSD Manuals, the average number of bee stings a man could survive is 10 stings per pound of body. Well, that could be untrue for Johannes Relleke who survived 2,443 stings on January 28, 1962, at the Kamativi tin mine.

The Zimbabwean was attacked by bees at the tin mine located at the Gwaii River, the bee stings were removed and counted and they were 2,443. He holds the record of a human to survive the highest bee stings till today.

4 – Dr. Niels Otto Thaning – The oldest man to swim across the English Channel

/English Channel/

On September 6th, 2014, South African cardiologist Otto Thaning became the oldest man to swim the English Channel from Shakespeare Beach in Dover, England, to Wissant Bay in Calais, France, in 12 hours 52 minutes. He became the oldest man to swim across the English Channel at the age of 73.

When asked how he was able to combine his career as a heart surgeon with marathon swimming, the first surgeon to perform a successful human-to-human heart transplant said in his interest in swimming has always been a passion shared with his involvement in cardiac surgery.

In 2005, Thaning was named one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

5 – BrainFarm (PTY) Ltd and Percy Maimela – Largest coffee grounds mosaic

Percy Maimela /Twitter/

Two South African artists, BrainFarm (PTY) Ltd, and Percy Maimela, in September 2019 made a record-breaking coffee mosaic to win the largest coffee ground mosaic.

To qualify for the Guinness World Record, the artists completed the painting on a 5×5-meter canvas with 100 percent ground coffee coverage and zero negative space. The image created in the coffee ground mosaic is the face of DJ Black Coffee, a South African DJ and record producer.

6 – Blessing Okagbare – Most appearances in Diamond League athletics meetings


Blessing Okagbare, a Nigerian athlete, has participated in 38 Diamond League meetings over her career.

The IAAF Golden League is being replaced with the Diamond League, an annual series of track and field events. Okagbare set a Guinness World Record in 2016 as the athlete with the most appearances in the Games.

She also owns the British Commonwealth Games record for the quickest time in the women’s 100 meters race.

7 – Juanne-Pierre – Largest display of origami butterflies


In December 2019, Juanne-Pierre, a Cape Town-based artist, set the Guinness World Record for the biggest display of Origami butterflies, with 29,416 butterflies.

A firm in Japan had previously set the record with 20,266 butterflies folded by its employees. Juanne-Pierre, on the other hand, folded each butterfly by hand using commercially available origami paper, and the final count took a team of five workers eight hours to finish.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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