Brent Lindeque delivered this talk at Nation Builder’s In Good Company 2018 conference. He is also known as Good Things Guy,
and has achieved global recognition for his forward-thinking approach and has developed the country’s biggest good news platform. He has been named as one of Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans and a Primedia Lead SA Hero. He grew up in southern Johannesburg and attended Government primary and high schools. He claims he was a bit of a hooligan when young, though he worked from age 13 to help the family finances. Having met many people in his life he learned certain lessons which he has carried throughout his life. In changing one thing he changed everything!
Lindeque learned that average is not good enough. You may think you are born average, but you can choose to be better. He realised that we create our own opportunities. Some are born to opportunity but all have the ability to achieve it. He believes we should always do what is good and what is right
Five years ago the NEK Nominations originated in Australia and went right around the world. The purpose was to drink as much alcohol as possible then go out and perform an incredibly stupid act while being videoed. This was uploaded to social media combined with a challenge to certain friends to go out and do worse. Social media, at this time, was causing a storm as users posted or tweeted carelessly, causing them to lose jobs or friends and get a bad name.
Lindeque was nominated in December 2014, but he felt people were being irresponsible. Social media was being misused and he felt it should rather be used to do good. Instead of following the format of the NEK challenges, Lindeque asked a friend to video him as he purchased a hamburger, Coke and a chocolate, then drove down the street and gave it to the first needy person he found begging at the traffic lights. With the video uploaded to social media he expected to receive ridicule, but instead, he had caused a stir and in a very short time the video went viral. International television companies wanted interviews; he had become famous overnight. Many others worldwide followed his example and a trend was started.
Lindeque realised that radio, television and social media were a platform from which to change the world. He was offered his first job on radio; just a 15-minute slot. There are still good people in the world, he realised. He launched a few good news items on social media and radio. They did well and a lot more positive stories came in. A better job on radio resulted and later he joined Radio Jacaranda, showcasing only good news and good stories. In the news, it was evident that, “If it bleeds, it leads,” Lindeque explained. Good Things Guy was started three years ago to share just one good news story per day, reminding South Africans that there are still good people out there. The program grew phenomenally, now broadcasting up to 15 good news stories a day. He is still in contact with many of the people he has reported about in the past and sees his concept of publishing only positive stories to be a winning one. He had changed one thing and changed an undesirable social media stunt into good deeds, leading to many, many more.
When reading the newspapers, look for the heroes. There is always a good side to the bad that happens; so much unreported good is happening in South Africa but you have to look for it. “We rise by lifting each other; a simple concept. You want a better neighbourhood, then be a better neighbour. We’re in this together and the way we will get through it is together,” Lindeque concludes.