Brent Lindeque is the brains behind local blog Good Things Guy which aims to spread positive news and goodness.
It all started when Brent Lindeque modified the drinking gamed ‘neknominations’ into something a little more wholesome. Instead of drinking, Lindeque modified the game into a challenge to perform random acts of kindness and nominate other people to participate in the gift of giving.
The Random Acts of Kindness challenge went viral and appeared on several mainstream news and international entertainment shows, such as Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres to name a few. These small acts of kindness eventually spread all across the globe and even initiated the creation of three feeding schemes in Canada, Ireland and the United States.
Lindeque went on to create the Good Things Guy blog with a purpose to shift what the world focuses on, from the bad news to the good. The blog writers track down and report on the best good news stories from around the world including South Africa.
The 35-year-old who was raised in Alberton, launched the blog in August 2015, and to date, reaches an average of one million readers monthly. The blog has won several prestigious awards such as Top Blog of the Year at the South African Blog Awards for three years running (2017-2019), GQ Men of the year and 100 Young Mandela’s of the Future to name a few.
During the covid-19 pandemic, Lindeque turned to another drinking game known as the egg challenge. It requires those nominated to swallow a raw egg, a shot of sugar and a shot of alcohol. The radio host who appears on Jacaranda FM flipped this challenge and in conjunction with local supermarket chain Spar, the egg challenge has become about creating and distributing food packages for those who are not able to feed themselves or their families during this time.
As told to Dylan Bettencourt.
I think the first starting point of anything is our upbringing, it is our parents, our peers, our teachers, friends, brothers and sisters. I think I had a really beautiful support system. I still have, God willingly, the people that are still alive and in my life are absolutely incredible. They really taught me the difference between right and wrong that gave me my morals and my values. I think that’s where kindness is born, from your upbringing.
Neknominations started about 6 years ago and it was all over the internet. It was people sharing these videos of people drinking as much as they possibly could and nominating other people to do what they have done. I was watching it and I thought it is so irresponsible, the internet is so young and you don’t really understand the consequences of us putting things online.
The other side of that is that our country has such huge disparity and we can see it now, now is the perfect time to really look at it. There are so many poor people in our country who could maybe use just a breather and that was my thinking at the time.
Be responsible and try do something good. I did not think I would use it for acts of kindness for neknominations, it was just the things that were going on in my mind at the same time. That Friday I got nominated and immediately thought ‘what do I do?’. Do I do absolutely nothing and nothing changes or try do something amazing and hopefully start something?
I made the decision to go to my local Fruit and Veg city, I bought an extra sandwich, an extra chocolate and cold drink. My idea was to give it to someone begging at a robot, it is not difficult. There are people at every single robot that you drive past. I gave it to the first person. I had a colleague with me recording the whole thing. When I got back to my office, I started uploading and editing the first YouTube video I would/ had ever put up and I still remember at the time, feeling really stupid. I thought to myself, the rest of the world is having this fun time drinking, lekker time, here’s me trying to be better, I don’t know.
Once I put it up online, within the space of a couple of hours it has hundreds and thousands of views and all of a sudden everybody was tuning in and watching it. It was really cool to see. The very next day there were hundreds and thousands of people who decided to use their nominations instead to do a random act of kindness. It was really beautiful to watch because it was global, it was just everybody in the whole world had thought, let’s rather share kindness and do something beautiful out of this and that is how it all started.
Ellen [DeGeneres] said on her show, ‘I am giving away a car every day for the next two weeks because of this South African guy, so it was really cool to see that’. CNN flew a whole team over to SA and they spent three days, just cameras all over me, which made me feel like Kim Kardashian. They recorded and told my story as well, on African Voices. Such a huge accolade, that the power that one simple idea can have to really just change the world.
The egg challenge was born from people being lonely at home, they are bored, they want to have fun. That is cool, we should be having fun – we should not be sitting in our houses feeling sorry for ourselves. The problem with the egg challenge is that again the disparity of our country you’ve got to look at it and say, yes it is just an egg and one egg is not a big thing but there are families in our country that have not eaten for a week. That egg and that little bit of sugar makes a huge difference. Instead, I decided that I wanted to do something good again and hopefully inspire other people to do good too. The way that I did that is that I contacted the Spar Group. I just thought they are everywhere, and if they are able to help me by putting trollies so that people can donate it would make it easier for people to do good.
I contacted them, they immediately agreed and said they will handle the logistics so any food that gets donated they would then find a charity in their area, in their community that needed help and get their drivers and stuff to go deliver the packages to help out.
It just made sense and so, I put a video out there of me saying that you can do your challenge and have fun but at the same time go and donate. This is a way you can spend just a R100 in a Spar and feed a family for a week. I do not know the exact number, but there must be thousands of donations around the country. We managed to raise over R1.1 million rand in the space of 48 hours. All of that money will be going back into the community, feeding schemes, 100% of it. There are no admin fees, no one taking a cut, 100% of that money goes exactly to feeding South Africa and I think that is absolutely epic.
The first part of the Good Things Guy story is how during that time that I was featured on all this news and I was in radio and all these places, I really fell in love with the medium of telling stories on radio and television. At the time Gareth Cliff had left 5FM and started Cliff Central. I tracked him down and found his email, I guess you can see I basically stalked him, it was quite funny. I popped him an email and I said to him I just would like to do a radio show and I would like that radio show to be about good things and feature really good people in the world, in South Africa telling their stories, interviewing them. I did not have any radio experience but I’ve got a platform that has grown exponentially in the past couple of weeks, all of a sudden I had thousands of followers and everybody wanted to follow me and I really just wanted to use that platform to do good.
FEATURED IMAGE: 35-year-old Brent Lindeque is switching up the egg challenge for those in need. Photo: Provided.
- Wits Vuvuzela, As told to: Medical student Kheto Mayisela in the midst of a pandemic, April 2020.
- Wits Vuvuzela, As told to: Telling the story of everyday kindness on the streets of Johannesburg, April 2020.
- Wits Vuvuzela, NGOs deploy aid to those in need during lockdown, April 2020.