South Africans have seen a resurgence of random acts of kindness more than thirty years after Anne Herbert wrote “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat at a Sausalito restaurant in the United States of America.

3 years ago, building on the foundation of a viral, spontaneous act of positivity, Brent Lindeque, a young South African man turned the reckless drinking game #neknominaitons on it’s head, by using his nomination to instead, perform a random act of kindness. By giving a homeless man a $2 meal, and using the power of social media to “pay-it-forward” his nomination went viral and to date has been viewed over 780,000 times.

More importantly it spawned thousands of similar videos, reaching and physically improving millions of lives and in addition created 3 dedicated feeding schemes in Canada, the USA and Ireland that are still running today.

While the act of being charitable and doing good, is a natural one for most of us, it is often simply too difficult to fit into our daily work schedules. The beauty of the #RAK16 movement, is its’ genuine simplicity.

“We all have the power to Change Everything by simply Changing One Thing. A small act of kindness can change your own daily reality, which is as simple as paying for someone’s coffee, or parting with a pair of old shoes you never wear.”

Prof Jean Greyling, Computing Science Department Head at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), shared a video made by students from his department of their NMMU #RAK16 Campaign. The students took up the challenge to “work on their soft skills” and set about spreading a little happiness on the university’s campus and in the community without asking for anything in return.

The first-year Computing Science students, Lutho Msutu, Bongo Mgubo, Michael Selby, Ruan Oliver, Christopher Marinus, and Cruden Daniels, started a Random Acts of Kindness page on Facebook as a platform for everyone to post and share their random acts of kindness. In the heart-warming and uplifting video, they can be seen dishing out cupcakes, leaving inspirational notes for unsuspecting students and handing out lunches to homeless people. Since then their video has been trending on social media and led to interviews on radio and national television.

South Africa has been experiencing a lot of turmoil with regards to politics, governance & the spiralling economy.

According to the students the aim was to inspire others to practice kindness and pass it on. They have contacted other universities and schools challenging them to spread the joy by posting videos of themselves performing random acts of kindness.

The late Princess Diana knew how to change the world with one hug, one touch, and one smile at a time. She was quoted as saying, “carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Professor Greyling said that since the release of the video, many people came back and said ‘but this is the real South Africa’.

“We want the world to see this is how we really are,” he said.

One can only hope that many more will take time out of their normal routine and attempt a new random act of kindness to make this world a better place.

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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