Afua Asantewaa Owusu Aduonum, the Ghanaian women’s rights advocate attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest singing marathon by an individual, has brought to an end her attempt after 126 hours of non-stop singing. Afua set out on the dawn of Sunday, December 24, 2023 to break the sing-a-thon record set by an Indian Sunil Waghmare in 2012.
She reached the existing record of 105 hours on Thursday, December 28, and continued singing until Friday, December 29, clocking an impressive 126 hours 52 minutes of continuous performance. Despite reaching this milestone, Afua had wanted to press on for an additional 24 hours. But her medical team recommended she discontinue, saying any further performance could jeopardise her health. The five-day record attempt has been tough, inspiring and entertaining.
Twenty-four hours after she began the attempt, fatigue started setting in. She would sit while singing then stood up to continue and subsequently laid down just to keep on going. And at a point, it felt as if she was going to give up. On Tuesday night, many, who trooped into the Akwaaba Village, the venue for the attempt, to cheer her on, were left worried after she went on a break that appeared longer than the allocated time for such breathers.
Per the rules of the record breaking attempt, she was allowed a five-minute break after every hour or 20-minute rest after four hours of continuous singing. Her supporters were anxious for her return but eventually, she returned to a deafening cheers. Afua continued and seemed rejuvenated at the sight of the crowd cheering her on. Her voice started fading until she lost it completely. And when it returned, she cried.
The support for her attempt has been massive.
The entire nation rallied behind her including celebrities and the country’s Vice-President turning up at the venue to show her support. Social media had been flooded with well wishes and words of encouragement interlaced with few criticisms and scepticisms. But the criticisms were shot down as quickly as they came.
If for nothing at all, she has dared and demonstrated resilience throughout the record attempt and thus, should be applauded not criticised, many retorted, majorly on social media. With such a challenging task, nothing was more reassuring than the support of her family. Visible in the crowd at the venue were her husband and her father. They were present at the venue for most of the event, pepping her up with her husband holding out a placard with the inscription, “More strength, Afua”.
Later on Thursday evening, he went on stage and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
The record attempt, Afua explained to Shehub.tv, is aimed at pushing Ghanaian music onto the international scene.
But it did more than that.
It was the highlight of the festive season in Ghana, offering many an opportunity to have fun and meet their stars. Addressing the crowd during the official closure of the event, Afua expressed hope that her five-day stint will inspire.
“We (she and her team) hope and believe that this will be an inspiration to all women and all youth or individuals to come out of your comfort zone and try new opportunities,” says Afua.
She is also hopeful that her attempt will positively impact the country’s music industry.
What happens next
Afua and team are expected to submit evidence of her attempt to Guinness World Records for assessment and confirmation. Though she has performed thousands of strictly Ghanaian songs for 126 hours, her achievement could be slashed down if GWR, in its assessment, finds any error committed during her performance.
Former record holder for cook-a-thon Hilda Baci, whose attempt Afua said inspired her bid, cooked for 100 hours in her attempt, but the GWR, in its review, validated only 93 hours and 11 minutes. Sunil Waghmare, the current sing-a-thon record holder was reported to have sung for 125 hours. But the British organisation confirmed only 105 hours as being the time his attempt lasted. A Dominican who sang for 106 hours in 2019 in a bid to break Waghmare’s record, had his attempt invalidated for violating the GWR’s rules of not taking breaks more than 30 seconds between songs.
But Afua and Ghana are positive that she will be confirmed as the new sing-a-thon record holder.