An online craze has recently gone viral, causing the death of several participants of this binge drinking game. The NekNomination game, which requires an individual to down an alcoholic drink in one go and then nominate a friend to do the same within 24 hours, has quickly spread to many countries worldwide. The act is recorded and posted to social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube. The game initially started as a fun, competitive daring game but a high intake of alcohol as reckless behaviour has resulted in many deaths.
Social media is increasingly becoming an effective way of connecting people from all areas around the world. Posts can be viewed immediately and shared to large amounts of people at the same time. Using NekNomiation as an example, it is clear that social media makes it easy for social ills (such as substance abuse, bullying, etc.) to be made popular among the youth. However, there is also no faster way to promote goodness.
In the midst of this notorious trend, a young South African decided to change the direction of the trend in order to benefit others instead of continuing along the lines of the original game. Instead of partaking in the drinking game, Brent Lindeque decided to present a homeless man with a small meal and post the video clip online. Following this act of kindness, he nominated two of his friends to do the same and to continue the trend. By challenging his friends to follow in his footsteps, he has succeeded in creating awareness of the poverty levels in South Africa and inspiring people to make a positive change in their community – even if it is as small as donating a meal to someone on the streets.
Simply by redirecting the game, Lindeque has inspired many South Africans to make a positive change in their community instead of partaking in the dangerous and pointless challenge of downing a drink. Mainly focused on including men, another South African had decided to extend the challenge to include women. Jason Bagley, another nominee, decided to donate sweets and other edibles to an organisation called PATCH (in the Helderberg region of the Western Cape) that assists abused children through court cases. He then nominated two female friends to do the same.
Youtube has been flooded with evidence of these random acts of kindness performed by numerous South Africans in the days following Lindeque’s post. The acts of kindness range from simply handing over a meal to a homeless person, to larger donations to community organisations, to donating musical instruments to street artists, to donating blood. In typical South African tradition, one individual used sport as a means of portraying his kindness. He donated soccer balls to children in an underprivileged area. Research is being done by individuals to see which areas of our society need help and awareness. Another nominee has extended the nominations from individuals to a corporate company, extended their deadline to one month and challenged them to make a considerable change in any chosen field.
It is evident that efforts are being made by South African individuals to uplift those less fortunate than themselves. Lindeque’s ability to use social media to the advantage of those suffering from poverty is impressive. Those who have already participated in the trend can boast with pride and encourage others to become involved in the fast-evolving movement. This inspiring story of how one simple act of kindness by an ordinary individual can initiate the start of such a great movement is proof that anybody can make a change.