Guy sees young man giving shoes to a homeless person... but the story has so much more to it!
Photo Cred: Bernadete Leal-Kelsey

A young South African is going viral for giving shoes from his own feet to a homeless woman. What no one knew at the time is that the young man had recently lost his father to a serious crime and was planning on leaving school soon to help his family financially… and now the community are stepping up to give back! This is Ubuntu in action. This is the South Africa we know and love!


Johannesburg, South Africa (27 October 2020) – Daniel Phaladi – a Pastor from “Back To God” – was driving past the Mall of Africa in Midrand on the 26th of October when he saw a young man take off his new sneakers to give them to a woman who was begging on the side of the road.

The young man – Keanu De Sousa explained to the woman that he didn’t have money, but he could offer her his shoes off his feet.

“I had witnessed something so authentic something so profound, an act of generosity which was simply out of this world,” Daniel explained.

Pastor Daniel sat in his car and cried with that he had just seen and then went to speak to the young good Samaritan, but Keanu was already running home to his mom wearing just his socks. The Pastor offered the young man money, as he had been so inspired by what he had seen but Keanu refused as he had given away his shoes to gain anything; it was just a small kindness that he could share with the woman.

Guy sees young man giving shoes to a homeless person... but the story has so much more to it!
Photo Cred: Daniel Phaladi

Eventually, Keanu accepted a lift home with Pastor Daniel… and the Pastor took Facebook to share the moment of inspiration, and ubuntu and ask South Africa to pray for the family.

But this is where the story became so much deeper.

“Multiple people that know Keanu and his family started to share with me the story of his life, the life behind the Golden heart. I never slept last night. I spent the night in tears; you are about to understand why.”

Keanu is 17 years old and currently in Grace 11. He lost his father – Ivan De Sousa – last year from crime and so he and his two siblings are staying with their mother – Tracy De Sousa. Ivan was the main support structure of this family, so his passing meant the mother had to now take up all the responsibility of all the finances of the family.

“The death of Ivan has impacted very hard on Keanu and the family as they were very close, and financially let me just be frank and say in a nutshell, things have been MORE than hard. Keanu had confided to a family friend that he intends to drop out of school so he can help his mother take care of the other siblings.”

What really inspired Pastor Daniel about meeting Keanu and seeing the act of kindness is that the young good Samaritan did not give away the only sneakers he had because “Mommy would replace them”.

“How would mommy replace the sneakers when all mommy was thinking about was to put food on the dinner table.

Keanu did not give out of abundance; he literally gave ALL he had. Keanu loves sports; he loves to go to the gym so by giving away the only pair of sneakers, he was basically giving away a part of his life. If this is not a display of divine supernatural love that crosses between racial lines, religious lines, and denominational lines, I don’t know what is.”

Pastor Daniel has since heard thousands of stories from different people how Keanu’s golden heart has had an impact on their lives. From the security guards at his complex to trainers at the gym, relatives and friends. There’s something everyone agrees on, Keanu’s heart is not of this world!! Normally after such a loss as the brutal killing of one’s family member, the natural reaction would be to harden the hearts, to become takers and not givers, but not for Keanu.

Pastor Daniel met up with Keanu’s mother this morning and described her as the most courageous woman with the most contagious smile.

“Indeed, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. When I met Mrs De Sousa, I could see where Keanu got this heart from. She would obviously not want me to put in all the gory details of her struggles, but through her beautiful smile, she is masking a lot of pain. For this act of selflessness that Keanu has shown, I do not believe South Africans will let this child drop out of school because of fees; I certainly do not believe, we can let Keanu go without sneakers. South Africa, it is our time to show the De Sousa family that sacrificial kindness will never go unnoticed.”

The Pastor asked Tracy for her banking details which she very reluctantly handed over. He decided that she needed to get every cent that would be raised for this family.

Guy sees young man giving shoes to a homeless person... but the story has so much more to it!
Photo Cred: Daniel Phaladi

Pastor Daniel took to Facebook again, to ask the broader community to assist.

“We can never replace the loving father that crime took from this family, but we can certainly show the family LOVE, the kind that heals, the kind that is practical. Yesterday we prayed for the De Sousa; today let us do something sacrificial for Keanu and his family. Something they will never forget in a true South African style and say thank you for not allowing the chilly cruel hands of crime to break the tenderness of your hearts.

Share this story with those near and far, let it reach the furthermost parts of this planet, What Keanu did transcends human boundaries of colour, nationality, religion, race etc., this is a story of humanity, a story of courage and indeed a story of LOVE!”

The banking details are listed below, and the Pastor has promised to update everyone on the 30th of October as to how much was raised for this incredible young man, and the De Sousa family.

Name: Tracy De Sousa
Bank: Nedbank
Acc No. 292 012 3661
Type: Savings
Branch Code: 198 765

Sources: Pastor Daniel Phaladi 
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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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