Fury over online booze game

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Since its inception it has gained worldwide attention, including in South Africa.

Cape Town - An online drinking game has come under fire after it caused the death of two young Irish men last week.

“Neknomination” – a drinking game among teenagers is believed to have started in Australia. Since its inception it has gained worldwide attention, including in South Africa.

The game involves people filming themselves while downing large amounts of alcohol in dangerous settings after which they then post the video on social networking sites.

Once they have downed their drink, they nominate someone else online to do the same. In Ireland, Jonathan Byrne and Ross Cummins died while performing their stunt.

Byrne,19 died while trying to jump into a river as part of his nomination. His body was found floating in a river on Saturday.

Cummins, 22, too was found dead on Saturday. The reason for his death is still unknown, but it was believed to be linked to the game. Since their deaths, a Facebook page set up for people to post their drinking nominations in Northern Ireland has been shut down.

Osborn Mahanjana, chief executive and spokesman at The Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) in South Africa – an organisation focused on the prevention of the negative effects of alcohol – said when alcohol is consumed rapidly as it is in “neknomination”, it has a bad effect on the brain.

He condemned the game being played in South Africa, saying society already suffers from gross alcohol abuse.

“We see alcohol abuse in many families in South Africa. A game like this only fuels that statistic,” he said.

A South African aware of the trend decided to use the platform to make a change, instead of getting drunk.

Brent Lindeque received a “neknomination” from a friend on Facebook on Friday.

Surprised at the request, he posted back saying: “I #neknominate you to buy a sandwich for someone who is less fortunate than you, today.”

Lindeque then posted a video on YouTube where he handed a beggar a sandwich, a chocolate and a can of cooldrink.

“Anyone can down a beer, it’s easy. Making a positive change in the world, now that is the difficult part,” he said.

Since the video was uploaded on Friday, it has since received more than 200 000 views.

“The positive attention I’ve received has been phenomenal. I plan to harness the energy and create a real platform whereby people can do good to change the world they live in,” he said.

Lindeque said he was working on setting up an online charity website.

“Neknomination originated as a game, but I plan to create a movement,” said Lindeque. - Cape Times

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