Hartbeespoort’s well-known hermit found dead outside tent

Costa Cambanis and Mike Oosthuizen.

Costa Cambanis and Mike Oosthuizen.

Hartbeespoort’s well-known hermit, who has been living in the mountain in Schoemansville for about 18 years, was found dead near his tent on Monday morning.

The 75-year-old Mike Oosthuizen’s body was found by Costa Cambanis, owner of the Wimpy in Schoemansville, where Mike was a familiar face. He used to spend many hours daily over cups of coffee at the Wimpy.

“I had not seen Mike in more than a week and got worried. I went up the mountain to his tent and little campsite and discovered his body. It was devastating,” Costa told Kormorant.

According to Romano van der Spuy, chairperson of the Hartbeespoort community policing forum, it seems as if he had died a while ago. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.

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For Costa, it is still a shock. “I have come to know him as well as one could, and spent many hours in the past 18 months having conversations with him. He was an extremely intelligent man and often talked to me about the Greek philosophers, Aquinas and Saint Degenus’ philosophies he lived by. He taught me a lot, mainly that one does not need shiny things to be happy and to appreciate life,” he said.

Costa met Mike when he bought the Wimpy and found Mike was part and parcel of the deal. Mike had been visiting the Wimpy on a daily basis for many years for his free cup of coffee or two. He was fondly known as Wimpy Mike and a familiar figure in Schoemansville’s street.

Very little was known about him, except that he regarded the Magaliesberg mountain as his home and refused to move. “He had a passion for nature and during my visits to him at his campsite, he would talk about the birds he had seen and little buck would come to his camp. He was a very special person.”

Costa took a special interest in him and after Mike had a stroke last year, he saw that Mike had food, firewood, blankets and other necessities on a regular basis.

“Local general practitioner, Dr Margaret Badenhorst, has been sponsoring his chronic medicines since the stroke and I want to thank her and all the other community members who helped care for Mike.

“Many people have offered him a place to stay through the years, but he always refused,” said Van der Spuy.

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