It is a rare find to discover a gamer, games producer, top eSports manager and best of all, a philanthropist – all in one person. Daniel “zh1nt0” Matros is well known for his passion for gaming and the gaming community, he is currently working as a producer for Battlefield, he manages the legendary eSports team, Epsilon and he founded Charitystream.
Matros shares something unique with South African gamers, his lady love lives in Johannesburg. Coupled with his interest in subculture barriers, South Africa came as the obvious choice to invest the efforts of Charitystream in. Join me for a peek into the heart and mind of one of the world’s most generous and kind-hearted gaming celebrities.
Daniel “zh1nt0” Matros
What drives you to be involved with charity work?
I’ve had this feeling for a long time that I need to do something you know. My ultimate goal in life was at one point to travel around the world and shoot documentaries on subcultures and report on interesting but odd things for us. Crossing cultural barriers and that sort of stuff. I guess the idea for charity came from there on out and I just decided to run with it. South Africa was a great starting point. I had already been there before and know the place better than anywhere I've been.
Tell us more about Charitystream
Charitystream is basically an organization started by me and at the start, it was only a concept. I started streaming for the hell of it and thought that maybe we can get sponsors to chip in, give away prizes and receive donations that we give to charity. Everything just kind of fell into place for season 1 when we started out and with some awesome help by our Film Director KG Rakgwale, we managed to turn it into a pretty successful proof of concept I would say.
How difficult is it to get exposure for charity work?
You have no idea! The difficult part is not to structure it but to make sure people understand what we are doing! We’ve contracted a good amount of sponsors and have received some spotlight through Kotaku and Gameinformer but people aren’t very into donating unless they can see it as an investment. I guess that is a good plan going forward with the charitystream.
Also, messaging media to get the word out is a pain! Mainstream media needs to get better at picking up smaller projects as well. This whole “there are no readers”- crap isn’t a valid argument anymore because in this day and age, a source of information isn’t limited to only one source.
Why did you choose to do charity work for an orphanage in South Africa?
I do spend time in South Africa visiting my girlfriend who lives in Johannesburg. So the location wasn't difficult at all, but the orphanage, we needed to pick out. Also, I want us to be able to see what is going on over there and get a sense of what we can do. Staying in touch with the people in the orphanage is key to us.
Luckily, my girlfriend knew an orphanage in Katlehong that needed some assistance so it wasn't difficult to decide once we initiated first contact with Mam Rosy who runs the orphanage. It's also good having people there who know about the orphanage and can check up on them from time to time.
Tell us about your experience in shooting the documentary about the Fountain of Love orphanage in Johannesburg.
KG Rakgwale was the one who shot the documentary and we basically shot it off of nothing. We freestyled the whole time. We didn't have a storyboard or any idea of what to shoot at all. We kind of went along with it as everything came natural. KG did an awesome job since she really has a touch for that.
Also, going in to Katlehong wasn't tricky at all. I liked the township vibe as it feels very open and true you know. It's just something you can't find along the polished facades, high gates and electric fences of the northern suburbs.
The orphanage itself was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. To think that 36 kids live in a 3 bedroom house with no yard to play in... We meet Mama Rosy in the documentary, tell us about the impact she has had on you. Wow, Rosy is a strong lady indeed! Having been an orphan herself she realizes and feels what these kids are going through. She deserves all help in the world and that is why we're going to keep going there and helping her and the kids out. She also had this happy aura about her you know. A kind of "I can take on anything in the world"- kind of aura that never really fades. I bet she even cooks and cleans for the kids in her sleep.
Where do you get the prizes from for Charitystream initiatives?
The prizes are given to us by our sponsors such as Utopiacomputers, XMG, Allriot Shirts and Coolermaster SA. They’ve been good to us and are very supportive.
But you don’t feature them on your stream?
Exactly! Charitystream is not an advertising board. All of us who are there know why we are there and where this stuff is coming from. Just selling out with BUY THIS BUY THAT embodies everything I don’t like about modern marketing.
What would you like the future to hold for Daniel Matros?
Haha, well we are in the middle of season 2 right now so I’m just planning on making charitystream even bigger and including more people as well. We want to grow at a steady pace but are going to be careful as to what we do and who we let in. The orphanages is the most important part of the job we’re doing and we want to maintain focus on the goal.
KG Rakgwale who did an amazing job filming this whole thing and putting it together. Also all the people behind charitystream who work day in and day out to make sure this all comes together! We are definitely making a change although it is small, we are still doing something.
Daniel Matros Twitter | Twitch | Tumblr / CharityStream Facebook | Blog
It was an honor for me to interview Mr Matros, we wish him all the best for his work with Charitystream. Why don’t you give him a follow, or just drop him a tweet to thank him for the work he is doing in South Africa.
MWEB GameZone will support the efforts of CharityStream and we hope to be involved in future projects with Mr Matros.
Han’s Twitter | Blog / MWEB Gamezone Twitter | Facebook
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd