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Sceptics have frowned on Gayton McKenzie and his business partner Kenny Kunene’s incredible journey to wealth – after all they’re both ex-convicts.
But who better to tell the story of rags to riches than the two men themselves in their book A Hustler’s Bible.
The book, to be launched in Cape Town on Wednesday, not only offers insight into McKenzie and Kunene’s personal lives and their business struggles, but also shares tips and guidelines on how to get ahead.
Speaking to the Saturday Star prior to the book launch, McKenzie said he was “excited” to see how the book would be received by the public.
“The book is our way of giving back to South Africa,” said McKenzie.
“Myself and Kenny have learnt a lot in life, from our time in prison to now, and we wanted to share our secrets of success with everyone.”
McKenzie, co-owner of the ZAR Empire, took just over two years to write the book, a product which he is very proud of.
“I worked very hard in compiling the book and hold this book very close to my heart,” said McKenzie.
He has promised readers a no-holds barred account.
“There are always questions in the media as to how we made our money,” said McKenzie.
“The book will answer many of the questions that have been asked. It doesn’t only include the good; we also talk about our business deals that went bad.”
The former convict who is now a multimillionaire businessman and motivational speaker said the book also documented the tough journey that the two faced since their release from Grootvlei Prison.
McKenzie spent seven years in jail while Kunene spent six years in jail.
“It’s not an easy thing trying to convince a businessman that an ex-con like myself has changed and that I can be trusted,” said McKenzie.
“I still find myself having to convince people I deal with that I can be trusted. I don’t blame them though; we brought those consequences upon ourselves.”
He adds that the people from his own hometown still don’t trust him, having earned a bad reputation for himself in his younger years. “My own community still can’t believe that I am a legit businessman. I get told often that I have money because I sell drugs.”
McKenzie says he isn’t fazed by the criticism.
“The most liberating moment in life was not when I was released from prison, but rather when I stopped giving a f*** what people thought.”
McKenzie also speaks in his book about his tough life growing up.” My family didn’t have any money. Sometimes we would go days without eating anything.
“I saw how tough it was for my father, and didn’t want to live the same life so I turned to crime,” he said.
“Once I came out (of prison) I vowed never to break the law again. I worked my way up right from the bottom.
“At one point I even sold fish from the back of my car to earn a living.
“I’ll never forget how my fingers froze from doing that job. It’s a reminder each day to keep my feet on the ground.”
In the book McKenzie and Kunene also speak about how they have achieved their dreams.
“It’s always been Kenny’s dream to be a DJ. When he told me about his dream the first time I laughed at him.
“The next day he bought his DJ equipment and he practised every single day afterwards.”
“Today he has gigs around South Africa and is one of the most wanted DJ’s in SA.”
McKenzie’s dream has always been to be a motivational speaker.
“I thought about it in prison every night before I went to bed. When I got out of prison I planned to fulfil my dream. Today I have visited over a thousand schools to give motivational talks and I’ll be releasing my second book.
Anyone, no matter how young or old they were, could achieve their dreams.
“The book is for all those who have a dream and would like to achieve their dream.”
The book also offers tips and guidelines on how to get ahead in life, said McKenzie.
“To succeed you also have to have proper etiquette when going for business deals and meetings,” said McKenzie.
“Simple things such as table etiquette can make a huge difference when meeting with potential business partners and we have included all of that.”
McKenzie says he has no doubt that the book will be a success, having received 20 000 pre-orders already. The book will sell for R199 at book stores countrywide. - Saturday Star