Using his influence to touch many lives

He was raised in Johannesburg by British parents who were anti-apartheid at a time when South Africa was deeply entrenched in racial segregation. It was this social awareness from a young age that would shape Brett ‘Fish’ Anderson’s career as a peacemaker and social justice advocate.

His father was a pastor who opened the doors of his church for Sunday services to black members of their community. His greatest highlight was the annual Christmas service for black community members, which he enjoyed attending with his family.

“It was a tiny church and we often received hand-me-downs, my siblings and I felt like we were poor in comparison to other kids,” he says. “My parents are humble people and have always lived a simple life.”

Brett describes himself as a nerd during his primary school years, he was a top chess player and academic performer. His great academic achievements made a way for him to attend a prestigious high school in Cape Town, but it was not the experience he had hoped for.

“It was distressing and horrible. My first day in Grade 8 was also my birthday and I didn’t have any friends. I later gravitated towards the kids who were considered to be weird and nerdy. I was lazy and began to struggle academically because I felt like school was a waste of time,” he says.

Passion for storytelling

But Brett had a passion for Christ and feeling like an outcast drove him deep into the comfort of his youth group. He joined Scripture Union, an organisation ministering to young people. He developed a passion for storytelling when he joined the Baptist Win Our World Team which used drama and music  entertainment to teach the Gospel and later graduated with a teaching diploma.

With purpose in his life he worked as a youth pastor until meeting his wife Valerie in 2010.

The couple moved to America to join an international christian community called Simple Way. It was the early days of the Black Lives Matter movement, protesting the brutal killing of African American men at the hands of the police.

“I felt myself being immersed in issues around social justice and when we returned to South Africa I knew I wanted to be actively involved in justice advocacy and issues around race,” he says.

Bridging the racial divide

In 2015 he joined the Heartlines team to work as a regional rep for What’s Your Story? In Cape Town which aligned with his dream of bridging the racial divide in South Africa.

“I’ve got 20 years experience in improv acting, I am a writer and have also been on radio. Storytelling has always been key to who I am and what I do,” he says. “The idea of creating a safe space and inviting people to share their stories resonate with everything that I do.”

Brett is an excellent storyteller and knows how to connect with people. Through multimedia content creation, he has achieved over 10 000 followers across his social media platforms.

“What’s Your Story? is a fulfilling experience, when doing storytelling with a group, you witness relationships being mended and different races come together,” he says. “When people experience the transformative nature of the work we do and see the value in it, that’s priceless.”