Letting it all hang out

2014-09-27 00:00

PULL out that sun block, and get out that beach towel, but leave your swimsuits behind because the proposal for KZN’s first official nude beach is finally gaining full exposure.

In May, the KZN Naturist Association appealed to the Hibiscus Coast Municipality to allow for a portion of Trafalgar beach, outside Port Shepstone, to be declared the province’s first official nude beach.

According to the municipality, the area beside the lagoon is currently being used by “naturists” unofficially and illegally. The endeavour has caused mass public debate among residents, business owners, religious and traditional members of the community.

The municipality did extensive research on the economic growth that could be brought into the area and found, by looking at the Sandy Bay beach in the Western Cape and nude beaches abroad, that the area should prosper financially.

Simon Soboyisa, spokesperson of the Hibiscus Coast Municipality, said that the government’s by-laws state that nude beaches are currently illegal.

The municipality has begun public consultation where all sections of the community, including traditionalists from the Kwaxolo and Kwanzimakwe rural villages in the surrounding areas, were asked to engage in a critical debate around the issue.

“The debate was held on August 22 and there was a mixed reaction with the majority of the comments being against a nude beach in the area. I am not against it, it is their democratic right, but there is still a long road ahead,” Soboyisa said.

Weekend Witness spoke to residents and business owners in the Trafalgar Beach area to find out how they feel about a nude beach in their backyard. A resident, Simone-Monique Fletcher, said she is still in two minds about it.

“How secluded is this area and can it be accessed by anyone? I don’t want to see wrinkly old behinds when I’m having my coffee in the morning. As long as it’s out of my sight, I don’t mind. But I am worried about crime, especially rape. You know how this country is,” Fletcher said.

Marshal Philipson, the owner of a small bed and breakfast in the area, said that he expects more people to flock to the beaches now.

“Whatever is good for business is good for me,” Philipson laughed. “I think it’s a good idea and it shows that the country is moving into the modern age. Besides, the weather’s great down here and we can let it all loose in the summer.”

The municipality said that traditionalists and spiritual leaders from the area have contested the proposal outright.

In terms of security, the KZN Naturist Association has pledged to secure the area with guards, gates and a strict code of conduct. “In KZN we have no facilities for naturists and the beach is ideal and very secluded,” said Christo Bothma, chairman of the KZN Naturist Association.

“Lots of people think we are associated with prostitution and sex, but come spend a day with us and you will see we behave better than people with clothes on. If all things go well next week, we will start building up the area to accommodate people as soon as possible.”

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