Only Good Things come from meeting Oprah

15 Oct 23 | Profiles

SA’s Good Things Guy believes that everyone has the power to make a positive difference. By focusing on the good, supporting one another and choosing kindness, we can create a brighter and better world, he says.

Brent Lindeque is a passionate South African storyteller who is on a mission to spread positivity and highlight the good that exists in the world. “My energy is fuelled by the belief that we can create a better society by focusing on the uplifting stories that often go unnoticed,” he says.

Brent, renowned as the founder of Good Things Guy, has certainly not gone unnoticed – even by Oprah Winfrey, who invited him and only three other SA journalists to a roundtable discussion and to interview her when she visited the country in July. “I felt chills. Good chills. I was going to sit down with one of the world’s greatest storytellers. Gosh, I was excited,” says Brent in the article he wrote about the interview.

Speaking to Saffa Mag, Brent says meeting Oprah was a ‘surreal and incredibly humbling experience’. “It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share my mission and learn from someone who has made a tremendous impact on the world.” Growing up, Brent spent almost every afternoon watching Oprah. He was later featured in her magazine, and meeting her personally was the cherry on top. Born in Johannesburg, Brent spent most of his childhood in Alberton. “I have really happy memories of my childhood. Loads of friends and an incredibly supportive family. It was filled with exploration, curiosity and a deep love for the people and places around me. I’ve always had an innate desire to connect with others and learn from their experiences,” says Brent, who has three siblings.

He met his best friend when he was five, on the first day of school. “Shelley and I have been friends ever since. We even moved in together after varsity.” While Brent says he was bullied in primary school, things changed in high school when he gained his confidence.

“I think that’s why I advocate for kindness and stand up against bullying. Our hearts have no space for hate when we fill them with love.”

After he left school, Brent travelled the US for two years, before coming back home for his next adventure. He pursued a degree in marketing and communications through IMM Graduate School.

“I didn’t finish, but got pretty damn close. I left in my final year to start working full time, as I had a great job offer.” He then started a ‘brand activation agency’ when he was 25.

“I loved working in the corporate space, bringing clients’ brands to life. Corporate vibes were totally my thing… You know, where creativity dances with strategy. It was like turning everyday brands into living, breathing stories. My crew and I didn’t just create campaigns, we wove captivating experiences that stuck.

Those years were where I found my rhythm, clicking with clients and making their brands stand out.”

Inspiring good things

Brent’s inspiration for Good Things Guy came from his desire to shift the narrative away from the overwhelming negativity that often saturates the media landscape. “I realised that the world is filled with incredible stories of kindness, resilience and compassion, and I wanted to bring those stories to the forefront… Before Good Things Guy, I found myself undertaking something quite unexpected,” says Brent. He explains that what began as a modest notion to brighten one person’s day eventually evolved into a global movement that resonated with millions.

Known as the ‘RAK initiative’ – which is all about random acts of kindness – it revolved around the concept of giving back and extending a helping hand to those in need. “The whole story kicked off when I decided to flip the script on the Neknominate drinking game craze. Rather than engaging in the reckless aspects of the game, I harnessed my nomination to carry out a random act of kindness,” says Brent, who gave a homeless man a R20 meal instead. “I leveraged the reach of social media to spread the notion of ‘paying it forward’. Unbeknownst to me, the impact was far-reaching, as my nomination rapidly gained traction and went viral. This marked the genesis of a movement that would eventually become a driving force behind Good Things Guy, where I continued to amplify positivity and acts of kindness on a broader scale.” Good Things Guy was officially launched in August 2015.

“It has been an incredible journey of growth and impact… From humble beginnings, we’ve grown to reach millions of people globally, spreading positive stories through the website, social media and various media appearances.” The future holds exciting possibilities for the platform. “We’re constantly exploring ways to expand our reach, collaborate with like-minded individuals and organisations, and make a positive impact on an even larger scale. And, who knows, maybe there’s a TV show that might be thrown in there.”

A Top 100 innovation success story

Brent cites being recognised as a Forbes Top 10 African Digital Influencer and being named one of the ‘World’s Top 100 innovation success stories’ among his greatest professional milestones. “These acknowledgements have validated the importance of sharing positive stories.” While climbing Kilimanjaro stands out as one of his significant personal milestones, Brent says his true journey of fulfilment lies beyond the physical summit. “Indeed, reaching the peak of that iconic mountain was a remarkable achievement, but what truly resonates with me is the discovery of my life’s purpose. I’ve found a calling that empowers me to make a meaningful impact in the lives of countless South Africans each day.” Brent’s family brings an abundance of joy and contentment to his life.

“The deep bond I share with my loved ones is truly something special. Speaking to my mom throughout the day is a constant source of comfort and connection. The love I hold for my dad, brother and sisters is unwavering and brings a sense of belonging that’s hard to put into words.

“At the centre of it all is my incredible partner Andrew, who has been by my side for an enriching 14 years. Our journey together has been nothing short of extraordinary, and together with his ex-wife, Alison, we share two beautiful kids, Maxine and Matthew, who add immeasurable happiness to our lives. As I navigate the complexities of life, it’s the warmth of my family that continually reminds me of the blessings I hold close to my heart.”

And this, in essence, is his happy place: “Spending quality time with my family and friends, enjoying the simple pleasures in life and creating cherished memories together.” Brent is also a passionate public speaker, which gives him the opportunity to further share the message of positivity and hope.

“Oh, and for fun, I watch series and movies… and play PlayStation.” Looking ahead, he’s excited to continue growing the Good Things Guy platform, collaborating with fellow changemakers and spreading positivity on a global scale. “My ultimate goal is to create a movement that inspires people to see the beauty and potential for good in every corner of our world.”

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