Controversial businessman and sushi king Kenny Kunene has cancelled any plans to hold sushi parties amid a storm of protest by the ANC, its women’s league, Cosatu and gender activists.
A contrite Kunene said on Tuesday it was never his intention to associate the eating of sushi off women’s half naked bodies with the ANC. He accepted the party’s condemnation of the practice, and said he understood its reasons.
“Therefore, I will not be throwing or attending any further such sushi parties as I have nothing but respect for the leadership of the ANC and the guiding principles of the movement.
“Were it not for the work and struggle of these ANC leaders, my leaders, the money that black businesspeople have made since 1994 would not have been possible, and this also applies to me,” said Kunene in a statement sent via his iPad.
Kunene was responding to the outrage that was triggered after photographs were published in the media showing the tycoon eating sushi off a model’s naked torso at a launch party in Cape Town on Saturday night.
On Monday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe condemned Kunene’s sushi parties, adding that the ANC was not in the business of nightclubs but was “a revolutionary movement”.
At the party at the Waterfront Studios on Saturday night, Kunene - dressed in a white suit with a silk scarf - took part in the sushi party trick, which is an ancient Japanese custom, while serving Champagne to a young model who was lying on the bonnet of a white Maserati.
Some of Kunene’s guests snapped photos with their cellphone cameras.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, who had attended the pre-launch party, defended Kunene, claiming that his new club, ZAR Lounge, to be opened in Green Point later this month, “belonged to the ANC”.
This claim was slapped down by Mantashe on Monday, prompting Malema to backtrack, saying he had been misquoted.
In his statement, Kunene said: “Julius Malema has been a tireless supporter of black businesspeople, especially those wanting to go into businesses where black people historically don’t have a presence.
“He has encouraged us to continue our work even when we wanted to give up.”
He reiterated that ZAR was a “private entity” with no political affiliations.
“It welcomes people from all races and political persuasions to come and enjoy a good time defined by style, glamour and the best things in life.
“We encourage anyone to do as Mr Malema has done and treat ZAR as their own,” said Kunene.
Kunene also said he respected Cape Town’s liquor by-laws after Malema had claimed Premier Helen Zille wanted to close down all nightclubs in Cape Town.
Some of the other guests who attended the lavish party on Saturday included ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni, actor Somizi Mhlongo and wayward footballer Katlego Mphela.
While serving time for fraud, Kunene was one of several prisoners who exposed corrupt warders at Grootvlei Prison in the Free State. Following his release, he ventured into motivational speaking at high schools, worked for a mining company, and started the ZAR nightclub in Sandton.
The ANC Women’s League yesterday weighed in on the controversy, describing the act of eating sushi off women’s bodies as “appaling”.
“The African National Women’s League (ANCWL) strongly condemns the despicable practice of serving of sushi on bodies of half naked South African women.
“We call for an immediate stop to this foreign practice because it is an attack on the bodily integrity and dignity of women in our country,” said ANCWL spokesperson Edna Molewa.
“We are appalled by this derogatory act of serving sushi on bodies of half naked women.
“We cannot allow such an insulting practice to be associated with the ANC or its cadres,” the league said.
In November last year a similar act at Kunene’s 40th birthday party, which was rumoured to have cost R700 000, landed him in hot water with Cosatu and gender activists.
Patrick Godana, manager at the Sonke Gender Network, said he welcomed Kunene’s reversal on the issue.
“On behalf of men that are sober in their minds, we welcome the remorse that has been shown by Mr Kunene.
“Young men in this country look up to him and this has caused confusion amongst them, especially from the emerging black elite,” said Godana.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town says it will investigate claims that liquor was sold at the Waterfront Studios venue.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said a liquor control officer would investigate to ascertain whether liquor had been sold at the party.
Should this be the case, it could scupper ZAR’s plans to apply for a liquor licence when the club officially launches on February 14 at the Cape Royale Hotel in Green Point.
“We’re awaiting an affidavit from one of the guests. If he (Kunene) has transgressed the national legislation it might be mentioned to the (provincial) liquor board,” said Smith.
The City of Cape Town would also be inspecting the new premises to ensure that staff were informed of the liquor laws. - Cape Times
if malema was not invited act would be judged differently. guys no judge act not individual.
i would sujest not limiting the growth of a country by rules that exclude that growth
How sad if you think you have arrived - only to behave like a chauvinist arrogant pig. If you have such a lot of money made from having been " a convicted fraudster " you should be ashamed of it and NOT flaunting it. There are many people who have made much more money than Kunene but at least they know how to behave. I can only shake my head in disbelieve and hope that the so-called leaders in the ANC can improve their judgement re their hangers-on. It is a shame towards the millions without jobs.
John James, wrote
Kunene you can be a successful young black business man if u put ur priorities right. First things first. Put GOD first and the rest shall flow ....
I find it hard to believe that big business are organising staff to make sandwiches for underpriveleged school children in their area as part of their "help the poor"policy yet the leader ANCYL chose to party the night away eating Sushi off exotic motor cars at a night club?Where is the ANCYL setting an example to the youth of SA in the upliftment of the poor in such actions?
A Maxim-Portrait of the King (of Sushi) Quote “Change into extremity is very frequent and easy. As when a beggar suddenly grows rich, he commonly becomes a prodigal; for, to obscure his former obscurity, he puts on riot and excess.”- Ben Jonson
The arrogance of this man! It should not be the way of Africa. Males @ females should be treated equally. Get real.
Yes correct...it's about time!! It's not your culture to eat sushi hey? Infact most of the food you eat these days was introduced by the colonialist. Perhaps you should go back to just eating your traditional foods altogether because you're so proud of your culture. We know what proud human beings you are.
Sometimes I wonder why we always focus on the bed then the good. Kunene have created job opportunity by opening a new night club, the opportunities we as youth are crying for. Yes it not enough but at least he is going something toward it. The issue of contributing toward poor people no one knows if he have done that or not since SA media sometimes focuses on stories that will up their sales. Yes we all condem eating of sushi on a half naked women. Ju Ju need to think before he comment.
Oh no - at the Cape Royale? They are destroying my favorite hotel. It used to be quiet but now its going to be awfully noisy there. Time to move on I think ...
blah, blah, blah......now everyone has been appeased and the media have milked this one they will move on to other things that will get everyone excited for the moment and these characters will simply carry on in the same vein!!!! It is the way of Africa and nothing is going to change that, no matter how much exposure and how many protests it makes no difference.
Dumb, dumber , wrote
The woman's leaugue is right! SA has the highest rape and HIV infection rate in the world. To then show so much public disrespect to women is dumb, stupid and irresponsible leadership. He should run a shebeen instead of the ANCYL!
Mr. Meyakee, wrote
How!?....."it's part of my culture...!"
DA Howitson, wrote
Despite days of activism against women for many years, such violence abuse against women take place as some men such as Mr Kunene indicate it is ok. This woman's body was violated even though she was paid. I agree with ANCWL and feel that such abuse against women should not be left there but action should be taken.
Disciple of Truth., wrote
Even the great King David, the spiritual-minded giant killer, who was totally forgiven when he fell from moral grace with Bathsheba, had to live with the terrible consequences of his adulterous stupidity, which destroyed his entire life as a king until the day he died. What hope is there for these Godless, fleshed-controlled youth destroyers who are so warmly embraced by our equally carnal-minded politicians? Small wonder that this whole Godless, corrupt world system is headed for total destruction; and far sooner than anyone thinks. South Africa has become foremost in this world for Godlessness and Immoral Corruption. The time for change is now!!! Later will be too late!!!
Serving sushi on half naked women is indeed revolutionary. Why didn't somebody think about it before? Viva Kenny! Viva! Viva sushi! Viva!
Must be nice to be able to flaunt supposed "success" when you force your fellow comrades to crap in the bush without a toilet just to try score political points. Leave them alone, the more they carry on like this the less credibility they have. What I would like to know is where "sushi dog" got his money, was it from motivational speaking at schools ? or working for a mining company ? Perhaps the Inland Revenue should do an audit on him !!
I think we are all missing the point here.It's not about whether or not Kenny is using hundreds of thousands in parties, don't forget that its his money and he can do with it what ever he wants. The point is that Juju keeps talking without thinking, he has convinced himself that the ANC runs the country and because he is part of it the law does not apply to him.
WeeZY.What are u on man.whonga or perhaps chewing on JuJu's unchanged socks.u talk crap man.u can't even spell.How did they let u have a Pc or Laptop at the institution man.maybe JuJu helped u.just shut up and go back to nursery school now.