Home News & Events John The Baptist? Meet South African Christian Caveman Who Lives In Wilderness!!

John The Baptist? Meet South African Christian Caveman Who Lives In Wilderness!!


RNS-CAPE-CAVE aCape Town native Clifford Brandon may have carved a life somewhat similar to the biblical John the Baptist for himself in a town called Wilderness in Southern Africa. The bible says John the baptist is the voice of one crying out in the wilderness and also, he lived in the wilderness and ate grasshoppers, therefore, Brandons hometown Wilderness is in itself metaphoric to the biblical John the baptist. To crown it, Brandon has forsaken civilization and moved into a cave!

He says God led him to the abandoned seaside shelter in the town of Wilderness, South Africa, eight years ago, soon after mudslides destroyed the remote coastal pass. In that time, he’s transformed Kaaiman’s Grotto, as it was originally called, into a shelter for homeless Christians and a makeshift museum of trinkets.

Gordon Van Coller, right, sometimes stays with Brandon when he’s not living indoors in nearby Great Brak River. Religion News Service photo by Brian Pellot


Hanging from the jagged ceiling are painted seashell chandeliers, fake flower bouquets, glitter-encrusted masks and testaments to Brandon’s faith.

Brandon’s transformation from Cape Town wild child to small-town Bible student to Wilderness cave dweller reflects the metamorphosis of his current home.

After a close call with death while working the streets of Cape Town, Brandon joined his brother’s ministry, an asylum for the homeless and people with substance abuse problems, in Vredenburg, Western Cape.

Several years of Bible study later, Brandon grew tired of “ministry, ministry, ministry, like a hamster on a wheel,” and prayed to God for his own home. Brandon says God told him to give away all his belongings and head to Wilderness on South Africa’s southern coast.

“As I came through the tunnel, I saw the bridge and the cave, and my spirit leapt, and I knew this was the home that God had prepared for me from the beginning of time,” he said.

But Brandon wasn’t the cave’s first inhabitant. Just months before he arrived in 2006, Kaaiman’s Grotto was home to a popular restaurant and tourist stop on the coastal route between nearby George and Knysna. When heavy rains washed out the restaurant’s only access track, its owner, Johan Coetzee, had little choice but to close shop.

Soon after, Brandon found the cave barren and covered in bird droppings.

“When God brought me here there was nothing. I used to sleep on a table with a towel thrown over me and a sack of dirty clothes as a cushion. Then I started collecting shells and stones and driftwood and picking up little toys that washed up on the beach.”


Brandon says Coetzee agreed to let him “look after” the cave until the rails were repaired and the restaurant could resume operations. That was eight years ago. With tracks still in shambles and a halt on eviction notices from the train’s former operator, Transnet, Brandon says the cave is now his.

Each year, at the start of South African summer in December, tourists from all over the world make the cave onoe of their stopover, stumbling through Brandon’s dimly lit rooms and dropping tips at the end of their tour. The revenues is what is used for sustenance and upkeep of the cave’s indwellers – homeless christians who Brandon take in to provide with shelter and food.

Source: Religious News


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