Zip Zap Academy: +27 (21) 421 8622

Our co-founders are a dynamic duo with a heart-warming story to share about how and when the Zip Zap magic all started.

Born in 1961 in Cape Town, Brent van Rensburg started to learn daring aerial skills at the Circus School YMCA Observatory in 1973. For the next 15 years he performed in Italy, Holland, Denmark, Norway, France, Monte Carlo and America. After an accident he started as an acrobatic instructor at the Ringling Brothers Clown College in Florida, then he ran circus workshops for Club Med Holiday Resorts.

There he met his future wife, Laurence Estève, who was managing the Club Med Resort, and in 1992 they returned to South Africa for a brief six-week visit.  South Africa was at the height of political instability.  This dynamic pair were acutely aware of the social issues facing a fledgling democracy, so instead of packing their bags, like many were at the time, they decided to stay and become part of the solution.  So, a six-week visit turned into six months, six years and now 29 years later and the rest they say…..is history!

Laurence holds a B.Sc. and a Masters in Sports Management. She was Knighted of the National Order of Merit by the French President and was a runner up at the BBQ Awards. In 2017 she was the president of the jury at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris, France. In 2019 she was a finalist at the African Women Innovation Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) awards for her social work. Estève also received the Paul Harris fellowship from Rotary International.

In 2008, Brent was awarded the title of Men’s Health Best Man (Public Service). He also received the Mayor’s Medal for Youth Affairs for “his great contribution towards developing youth affairs in South Africa” in 2011. In 2012, Brent was the recipient of the Western Cape Government prize for contribution towards the promotion of the performing arts and was a guest speaker at TEDx Cape Town on “Your failures are our Superstars”. Brent also received the Paul Harris fellowship from the Rotary. He brings over 30 years of experience and passion for the circus to training young performers from all walks of life. He has done a great deal of rigging and stunt work in addition to his Zip Zap responsibilities.

International Highlights

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    1995

    President Nelson Mandela’s 77th birthday

    Johannesburg, South Africa

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    1996

    Images of Africa Festival

    Copenhagen, Denmark

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    1999

    Houston Arts Festival

    Texas, USA

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    2002

    Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival

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    2006

    Commonwealth Games

    Melbourne, Australia

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    2009

    Ikarus Night at Hanger7 for Red Bull

    Salzburg, Austria

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    2012

    Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain

    Paris, France

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    2015

    African Cup of Nations

    Lagos, Nigeria

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    2016

    Barack and Michelle Obama Halloween at the White House

    Washington DC, USA

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    2017

    Match for Africa #3 for the Roger Federer Foundation

    Zurich, Switzerland

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    2018

    African Circus Arts Festival

    Ethiopia

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    2019

    RICA

    Abidjan, Ivory Coast

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    2020

    Match in Africa #6 for the Roger Federer Foundation

    Cape Town, South Africa

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