Homeless hero uplifts Gauteng's less fortunate
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He wants to maintain the mystery that has surrounded him for the last decade.
He doesn’t give out his real name, neither does he divulge where he lives, or what he does exactly.
The only thing that is known about Phakathi is that he is regarded as a hero to the homeless in Gauteng.
For the past few months, Phakathi’s videos of him giving a helping hand to the homeless in Gauteng have gone viral on social media. Hundreds have been uploaded on the Facebook page “Bi Phakathi”, which shows a man handing out money and groceries to the less fortunate. In his videos, Phakathi doesn’t reveal his identity.
“In my book, a real hero is someone who hides their identity and does good deeds for no sort of recognition,” he says.
Most recently, Phakathi posted a video on Facebook, which shows him helping an elderly homeless man who had not eaten for two days
Phakathi is seen chatting to the man and asking him where he lives and why he hadn’t eaten in such a long time.
The two are seen jumping into Phakathi’s car and going to the Checkers in Centurion Mall, where he buys the elderly man all the groceries he needs. He recently gave a homeless man a make-over and completely changed his life.
The homeless man, who identified himself as John, was assisted by the generous Phakathi in finding a shelter as well.
After Phakathi paid for a month’s stay at the shelter for him, he decided to take him for a haircut and a short shopping spree.
Phakathi has always had his heart set on changing the lives of South Africans, “one disadvantaged person at a time”, he tells the Saturday Star.
“It began more than 10 years ago now. I was doing it in the church for widows and orphans in the community,” he says.
“It is something that has always been in my heart since the first time I started working in my first job, which was to care for the needy.
“I decided to start a Facebook page on my project to share good news and to inspire others.
“I can’t explain how the content went viral, but it’s by God’s grace.”
His charitable acts fulfil him.
“It has kept me grounded personally and spiritually and I have made so many friends with the poor.”
While Phakathi has helped countless people, he doesn’t keep track of how much he has spent nor how many people he has helped.
“I don’t count because this is a lifestyle, not a competition. There is no beginning nor end, but doing it until the end of time. It’s also not about how much I give but the act of giving with an open heart is a priority. Sometimes you will give until you are left with nothing in your account.”
It’s made him a better person.
“The greatest lesson learnt is never judge a person by their outside appearance. Some of the people I met have great stories to tell about their background and how they arrived in this predicament.
“It’s sad that most people who are needy are ignored as they are viewed as foolish or non-existent. I have learnt to see value in those who are struggling.
“Most people I came across were not expecting help from a black person in a white community. They are surprised when grace overwhelms their expectations from a white hand. It has changed my mind about race. I learned that we all go through tough times regardless of our skin colour or class.
“I have so many friends from the streets and families who are inspired and it is always a great experience when I receive positive testimonies.
“This journey has not been about me, but rather to give and love one another as God intended.”
While Phakathi is considered a hero to the homeless, something that flatters him, he doesn’t view himself in that light.
“I am not a hero in my eyes,” says Phakathi. “I am not shaken by the hero status because I didn’t begin this work, I’ve just made it look cooler.
“There are other guys who are doing the same work without cameras, and my dream is to share their story to inspire others who think great charity work doesn’t need to be recorded.
“I am inspired by love and compassion for the needy, I see myself in their situation as I also have been or still are in the same situation even if I look like I am better off financially.”
Phakathi insists that he is not rich.
“Most people think I am rich. I am not a rich man but just an ordinary guy with a passion for the needy living his life. I have a nine to five job and I go to work like everyone else and do charity work part time.”
Phakathi has been inspired by Bahamian evangelist and ordained minister Dr Myles Munroe to live a purpose-driven life.
“Dr Myles spoke a lot about finding your purpose and giving and sharing with the needy has been my purpose and looking unto Jesus Christ as my inspiration. I have found value in leading through generous works.
Phakathi’s videos have also helped inspire South Africans to help.
“I get so many great videos and pictures in my mail from others who are doing the same. I also work with other charity organisations to push their work and fund-raising.”
Phakathi will continue his work for the rest of his life. “It is more than a plan. It is a lifestyle that each and every person should be doing.
“This world can be a better place if we learn to love one another unconditionally and share every little thing and not to be selfish in life.”