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World - Africa

Cape Town disco dancer aims for 400-hour boogie

June 21, 1998
Web posted at: 2:41 p.m. EDT (1841 GMT)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNN) -- Andre van Zijl is disco dancing in a Cape Town video store, and vowing not to stop until he sets a new 400-hour world record.

Observers say the 38-year-old van Zijl could reach his goal. He already holds the current world record, set in 1980 when he danced for 338 hours.

But van Zijl's objective is about more than setting records.

He is motivated by a promise he made to a friend, who eventually died of AIDS. The promise was to spread the word about AIDS to every citizen on the African continent.

In case you were wondering, van Zijl does have a plan for incorporating the necessities of rest, food, and restroom activity into his dancing marathon.

He's to dance his first 44 hours without a break. He can take a trip to the bathroom, but he must be accompanied by someone who makes sure he doesn't stop moving for more than 30 seconds.

After the first 44 hours, he'll take a four hour break to bathe and rest. During the remainder of the dance marathon, van Zijl can rest for 5 minutes every hour.

The odd ordeal began Friday, and is expected to last 17 days.

Van Zijl hopes to use any money he raises to help build more hospices and AIDS training information centers in South Africa.

He also plans to use a portion of the funds to travel to the United States, where he wants to raise more money by roller-skating 15,000 kilometers, or 9,375 miles.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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