Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 127, February 2020 - Page 11

Finding His Niche Brent was born in Alberton, Johannesburg, and now lives in the northern part of the city. He attended school in Alberton, and began working at a wedding venue from as young as 14 years in order to help support his family. After school he began studying at the then Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg), but dropped out and travelled around the USA for two years, doing odd jobs to make a living. Once back in SA, he then tried his hand at studying marketing, while working at a designer clothing store. “During this time I landed an interview at Fantastic Racing, a Formula Three racing team, and was offered a permanent job as an event manager, so I left my sales job and dropped out of my studies,” says Brent. “After a couple of years with them, I realised I am an entrepreneur, and a leader, and that’s why I battled to deal with management. So I sat down with my manager and said I want to start a company that does brand activation, with their blessing, and asked for six months to launch my new business while finishing off with them.” That was the birth of Chaos Theory, which Brent initially ran out of his garage at home, and it grew into a hugely successful activations company working in cricket, soccer and more. However, Brent has subsequently handed over the daily running of the company and just pops into the office every few days while serving on the Exco, due to the big changes that have happened in his life thanks to the Good Things Guy movement. Paying it Forwards It all started with a Neknomination in 2014, the drinking game that took the social media world by storm in 2014, where people would dare friends to down a drink and post the video on social media. “People were filming themselves doing crazy, stupid and dangerous things while chugging a beer, and it all seemed so pointless to me. I’ve got nothing against drinking, and you will find me in a pub every Friday night, but I felt we should be more responsible what we post online. There’s huge power in sharing positive ideas and creating awareness through social media, and I wanted to do that instead, with a random act of kindness,” says Brent. “We have a large proportion of our population living in poverty, and I saw being nominated as an opportunity to rather do something about that. So, instead of downing a drink, I decided to post a video of myself feeding a homeless person. This is South Africa... I just drove down the road and found someone. That’s the plight of so many South Africans, and worth drawing attention to. I put the video up on a Friday and it went viral, and it changed my life.” By the Monday Brent was being interviewed by media platforms from all around the world, as the view count and number of shares on his video continued to rocket upwards. This eventually saw him and his video featured on, amongst others, Carte Blanche, The Espresso Show, 5Fm, eNCA, News24 and Radio702 here in SA, and internationally on Mashable, Huffington Post, CNN, BBC, Sky News, Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres, to name but a few. “Local and international news stations and talk shows wanted to hear more. I’ve always been a positive guy, but this really showed me that the world is hungry for good news. It also made me realise that we all have the power within ourselves to make a difference.” There was no plan or strategy. The Universe has a crazy way of doing things, and I was in the right place at the right time. I literally fed a homeless person to change the way my friends looked at things. I didn’t set out to change Neknominations, just to change the narrative – and I think the world needed it after several deaths due to Neknominations. Also, I think South Africa needed it, because many had been numbed into the belief that SA is a broken country, just waiting to fall over. I thought we needed to collectively change that narrative. 11