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Keanu's mom with Pastor Daniel Phaladi. Photo: FB/Daniel Phaledi

Since news of the kind young South African school learner, who gave a woman the shoes off his feet, went viral, the witness to the event – Pastor Daniel Phaladi – has met with Keanu de Sousa’s mom… and discovered just how big Keanu’s “golden heart” is, and the pain that lies therein.

Keanu isn’t a spoilt kid who knew his mom would be able to replace his shoes. He’s a 17-year-old who lost his father last year. According to Phaladi, Ivan de Sousa was “brutally killed” by criminals. Ivan was the breadwinner. And so now Keanu’s mom is struggling just to put food on the table for her family – Keanu and his two siblings. In fact times are so tough that apparently “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”.

The pastor says: “Keanu did not give out of abundance, he literally gave ALL he had. Keanu loves sports, he loves to go to 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, denominational lines I don’t know what is.

“I have 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, 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.”


As one of Keanu’s history teachers, Hastings Mp KaNyandeni, says: “Proud of you Keanu… we are blessed to have u at Summerhill.”

Pastor Phaladi says Keanu’s mother’s contagious smile is “masking a lot of pain”, and he has called on South Africans to help the De Sousa family if they can.

“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,” he says.

“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.”

He called on South Africans to share this story far and wide, to thank the family for “not allowing the chilly cruel hands of crime to break the tenderness of your hearts” and for Keanu’s sacrifice which “transcends human boundaries of color, nationality, religion, race etc, this is a story of humanity, a story of courage and indeed a story of LOVE!”

Donation details:

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