King of Bling serious politician after Saul moment
CONTROVERSIAL businessman Kenny Kunene, has, in just a few short days, managed to rebrand himself from playboy millionaire to serious politician.
Kunene, better known as South Africa’s King of Bling and for eating sushi off seminaked models, is now going biblical, comparing himself to Saul, who saw the error of his ways on the road to Damascus, and changed his name to Paul.
This week Kunene joined Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters, declared his political will, and vowed to leave his old ways behind – including bathtubs of Champagne and his usual bevy of at least 15 beautiful women who made up his modern-day harem.
He said this week the women understood. “They understand and respect that I am embarking on this thing. We’re moving on in our personal spaces. They, too, have a role to play as young people. We’ll remain friends, but when it comes to intimate issues, we have to put those behind us.”
To go with his more serious image, Kunene has changed his Twitter handle from @ zarsushiking to the more respectable @Kenny-T-Kunene. Whereas the Sushi King would tweet about parties and women, Kenny- T is quoting Plato and Tupac Shakur interchangeably.
He says the change began with an open letter to the ANC, in which he voiced his serious concerns with the direction the party was heading.
He called President Jacob Zuma a monster, which in turn had ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu fire off a missive about “a character called Kenny Kunene”, in which he says Kunene’s “statements are not worthy of a response from our glorious movement”.
In return, Kunene left the ANC, and ran right into the arms of Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters.
“I have been dissatisfied with the way things have been in the ANC for a while now. I was always aligned to the ANC Youth League under the leadership of Julius Malema.”
Asked about his friendship with Malema, Kunene says: “We have never been friends – he was my leader.
“When Zwelinzima Vavi attacked me, Malema was the only one who stood by my side. We are close. I can call him any time. We were close as comrades, now we are fighters together.”
In fact, it’s Floyd Shivambu, former ANCYL spokesman, and also an Economic Freedom Fighter, who has always been his friend.
Kunene says the ANC has “abandoned” the ideals of the Freedom Charter, with the party turning its back on challenges facing the young and the poor. The Economic Freedom Fighters are “radical and revolutionary”, and would advance those ideals that the ANC had abandoned, he told Weekend Argus.
Despite reports, the Economic Freedom Fighters are not yet a political party, Kunene says.
The plan is to engage the nation, and then hold a national assembly at the end of this month.
“If the people of South Africa say they want an independent political movement, then that is what we’ll do.”
They’ve already got “professors and economists and policy-makers” working together on a draft policy statement. And while that policy statement is not yet complete, it will be pro-poor.
Asked about how his opu- lent image will fit in with this pro- poor statement, Kunene said: “Your past is a journey that you had to travel.”
And it’s here that he compares himself to Saul/ Paul, and also the kind of people who come out of prison and become pastors.
Kunene believes people are already seeing past his old image, and realising he is putting aside his happiness “for the country and for Africa”.
“I focused on myself and my own happiness. And although I was giving to charity and… helping people by putting them through university and paying their school fees and buying school uniforms, the focus was on myself. But now I have been called on by the masses to focus on them.”
He chose that life consciously and has no regrets.
But now, Kunene is adamant that’s he’s been called on to live a different lifestyle.
COMRADES: Businessman Kenny Kunene and Julius Malema at the 67th anniversary of the ANC Youth League in Soweto in 2011.