The naked truth hurts the worst

02 August 2015 - 02:00 By Ndumiso Ngcobo

When I was a teen I had a pathetic collection of a mere three copies of the soft-porn magazine Scope. As any self-respecting teen owner of quasi-pornographic magazines knows, some of the pages were permanently glued together for some obscure reason. And the poor things were in a generally sorry, tattered state from overuse.Because I owned these magazines primarily for the articles (clears throat), I can distinctly remember one that chronicled South Africa's first nudist beach in Cape Town's Sandy Bay. The visionary behind it was some fellow who had named himself after the English fashionista from the Regency period, Beau Brummell, who is credited with having popularised the anally retentive, nausea-inducing suit-and-tie combo I'm subjected to each time I'm in the JSE vicinity.Even during his physical prime in the '80s, our clothes-averse version of Beau Brummell was a deeply unattractive man by all accounts, which made me wonder why he was in the bare-it-all business. From where I stood, Grim Beau starting a nudist colony was a little like FW de Klerk creating a haircare empire.story_article_left1But enough about the '80s. In more recent times the same Beau Brummell was in the news for attempting to start yet another nudist resort in Bela Bela, but prohibiting any darker-hued individuals from dangling their fleshy bits alongside their white compatriots. I remember Brummell's "I'm not a racist" stance and his observation that nudity was not part of "African culture". I'm guessing he's never been to the Swati or Zulu versions of the Reed Dance.While driving down to my home province of KwaZulu-Natal last weekend, I made a mental note to make time to visit Mpenjati Beach on the South Coast, home of our nation's first "official" nudist beach. I must hasten to point out that I have pathologically little interest in looking at people's naked forms, irrespective of their levels of attractiveness. Don't get me wrong; nudity is a splendid sight in a private setting, under intimate circumstances.However, the handful of times I have been persuaded to go into strip clubs have been spectacularly underwhelming. It was a lot like being invited to watch a buffet one is not allowed to partake in. I just didn't see the point.But I was curious about this Mpenjati Beach. Boundless curiosity is an occupational hazard. As it turned out, last weekend was one of the coldest weekends in KwaZulu-Natal in living memory and the nudists had decided not to come out and play. From a male perspective, I totally get why. It's a tad difficult to put one's best ... ahem ... foot forward when temperatures drop below 15°C. That's just one of the many reasons I couldn't possibly participate in the Maponapona Games. (That's colloquial Sotho for nudity.)Besides, can you imagine being at the beach without pockets? I don't know about you but I like to have a little cash in my pocket when I'm strolling along the shore just in case there's a vendor with those curry powder-soaked pineapple sticks.But back to people's levels of attractiveness in their frog suits. Perhaps the most compelling reason of all for my aversion to any place where folks parade their nakedness in public is that most people who feel the uncontrollable urge to bare it all have no business disrobing in front of other people.story_article_right2After my failure to satisfy my insatiable curiosity at Mpenjati Beach I did what anyone with a higher IQ than I possess would have done; I simply went to my trusty old friend Google and searched for pictures of the Maponapona tribe from Mpenjati.All I have to say about that is sies! It was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. And I've seen pictures of hog farms in Iowa. After a man has lived a sedentary lifestyle for a certain number of years, the frontal view of his body is practically indistinguishable from the posterior view. If you stuck a little coiled tail on some of the posteriors I saw, all you'd need to do is draw a pair of eyes, a nose and a mouth on the back of those bald heads with a koki pen and these folks would look exactly the same walking towards you as they would walking away.I was reminded of why I allowed my gym membership to lapse, what with all that wanton prancing around in suits of birth. And this is not even taking into account all that UV radiation that people's nethers have been exposed to, until they are fried into crispy raisins in the subtropical climate of the South Coast.Now don't get me wrong. I don't think that there's anything wrong with nudist camps, strip clubs and whatnot. In fact, I'm a fervent believer in everybody's right to freedom of association, with garb or without.And it is even possible that I'm being a hysterical prude who cannot stand the revelation of a little flesh. Perhaps. All I'm saying is that, as things stand, I am not interested in being a part of that tribe. LSE-mail Ndumiso Ngcobo at or find him on twitter @NdumisoNgcobo..

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