Cape Town - Why sip a beer when you could film yourself chugging it down while snorkelling in a fish tank, then get two friends to do likewise?

A new drinking game has gone viral on social media, inspiring ridiculous drinking stunts, causing two deaths, and even sparking a humanitarian cause.

The rules of #neknominations are simple: you film yourself downing a drink in an extreme or absurd way, upload it online, and give two friends 24 hours to do the same.

The craze is said to have started in Australia with young men “necking” a drink and nominating friends to take up the challenge. It has since been blamed for the deaths of two teenagers in Ireland.

The Neknominate Facebook page, around since early January, has more than 33 000 likes. It reads: “The idea of Neknominate is to skull a drink, then nominate a friend to skull, they intern (sic) Neknominate more friends.”

According to one Urban Dictionary definition, it’s “a Mexican wave of alcoholism”.

But a Joburg man turned the worldwide booze-up into a proudly South African pay-it-forward type of neknomination.

Brent Lindeque refused to chug alcohol when nominated by a friend.

Instead, he filmed himself driving to an intersection and handing a sandwich, chocolate bar and Coca-Cola to a beggar. He nominated two friends to do the same.

Beneath the video on Youtube, Lindeque wrote: “I’ve decided to create something positive out of the random global phenomenon of neknominations… imagine if we all harnessed the power of social media to make a real difference in peoples lives.”

The video was uploaded on Friday, and already has more than 180 000 views. It has sparked a wave of videos documenting random acts of kindness.

But many South Africans have stuck to the original recipe.

Capetonian Tim Hodgson, a legal researcher in a human rights NGO, filmed himself downing a beer in a crazy outfit and posted it on Facebook.

“It’s fun to make and watch videos of friends all around the world,” he said. “Laughing at each other is at the core of most my friendships.”

He said that while some people took it too far, it was meant as harmless fun.

“I wish we were more engaged at paying it forward in other ways, and didn't need drinking as an excuse to interact with our friends all over the world,” Hodgson said. “But we also shouldn’t be too serious - in either our disdain or support - for silly, fun childish games. That and cat memes is basically what the internet is for.”

A collection of the most outlandish neknomination videos can be viewed at

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Cape Argus