’Ugliest Man’ with Physical Deformity Finds Love Three Times; What is Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP)?

Ugliest Man

Godfrey Baguma, who is best known as Ssebabi, is a middle-aged man who entered the limelight after winning an ugliness competition in 2002.

Ugliest Man?

The now 50-year-old man is a comedian, singer, and shoemaker from Uganda. Born on May 16, 1973, Baguma faced struggles as his mother left him behind when he was a child. This was after she claimed that he did not have the appearance of a normal child. His grandmother fortunately stepped in to raise him with love and care.

Due to his appearance, he had to endure relentless cycles of bullying and ridicule. Despite dreams of living a normal life of attending school and pursuing ambitions, limited resources and societal prejudices often came as challenges.

Though there appeared to be many odds against him, Baguma refused to let his limitations define him. He was able to discover solace in comedy and music and used his talents to enlighten others. He also learned how to sing and play musical instruments. He was able to develop the capacity for humor, allowing him to use laughter as a strong weapon against despair and discrimination.

Baguma participated in a local competition known as “Mr. Ugly” in 2002. This event was quite a questionable and controversial contest that exploited and capitalized on physical imperfections for the sake of entertainment. Though he was hesitant at the start, he ended up earning the crown and title of the “Ugliest Man,” garnering him unwanted attention and nation-wide curiosity.

Disability is not inability: The name Godfrey Baguma, “Sebabi”, is well known in Africa. The man is a successful singer… Posted by Henry Haingura on Monday, November 29, 2021

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP)

Baguma’s unique appearance is due to a medical condition known as Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), which is a rare condition that causes bones to form beyond the skeleton. This leads to movement restrictions and physical deformities. The disease also involves bone gradually replacing connective tissues and muscles.

FOP symptoms typically begin during childhood and start at the shoulder and neck before progressing to other body parts. However, one of its main signs can be observed during birth. For each foot, the big toe is shorter than usual and is directed to other toes. Roughly half of the individuals with FOP also experience similar symptoms with their thumbs.

Due to how the condition typically results from a novel genetic mutation that was not inherited from a parent, anyone could end up getting the disease. Genetic mutations are quite unpredictable, as they happen during fertilization because of an error in cell replication and division. Other factors, such as chemical exposure and smoking, could boost risk of bearing a child who has a genetic mutation.

As for FOP, the condition is extremely rare. In fact, it is estimated to just affect one person out of two million people all over the world.

There is currently no way to effectively treat FOP. Since surgery typically leads to more formation of bones, it is not considered an option for excess bone removal. Moreover, such new bones may also not disappear on their own.

Nevertheless, researchers are investigating the condition further and looking for novel treatments. There are also medications that could aid in relieving FOP symptoms like inflammation and pain.