WATCH | Why hiking nude is the new confidence builder for men
Is hiking in the nude the secret weapon to overcoming a negative body image?
In recent years, people have protested the unrealistic expectations for women perpetuated in the media.
But men also struggle with the pressure of having a certain body type. Fanafikile Lephakha was just 11 years old when he developed issues related to his appearance.
“I was a bit chubby,” he says. “Young boys used to tease me a lot.” But as a personal development life coach today, he found an unconventional method to cultivate self-love – trekking naked with other men.
Lephakha uses hiking in nature as an inclusive space for participants to be themselves.
“Most men have body insecurities because they internalise all the emotion about it,” he says. “It was hard for me to open up about it because I didn’t want people to laugh at me.”
When he learnt that Naked Hiking Day is celebrated on 21 June each year, he decided to invite other men to join him in conquering their fears.
The first of its kind in South Africa, the hike took place near the Drakensberg in 2021 and was a way for men to strip away their doubts – literally.
The real challenge wasn’t in getting naked in front of other men, but in eliminating self-judgement and critique.
Lephakha took a leap of faith in exposing his struggles, and his honesty has helped others practise acceptance.
Creating a community of like-minded individuals, he’s laying a sure path to finding freedom and confidence.
“Beyond the naked hike, I would encourage men to confront their insecurities by being open and engaging in conversations,” Lephakha says.
Through their vulnerability, men can transform their outlook on themselves and their lives.
Footage by Thabang Semonyo was used in the production of this film