Inside the Sushi King’s sexy Sandton harem

2013-04-07 10:00

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So what is it about a man in his 40s with a bit of a belly, a criminal record and a penchant for showing off that makes Kenny Kunene the unlikely playboy he’s become?

After an afternoon at his house, it’s hard to think of anyone else in South Africa who can truly compete with Kenny’s collection of girlfriends.

You’d have to compare him to other confirmed public polygamists, like Hugh Hefner or the king of Swaziland perhaps.

King Mswati III no longer takes his calls, Kenny claims, after the nightclub owner deflowered three or four too many young Swazi women he met at the annual reed dance two years ago.

The king and family saw evidence of this on Kenny’s reality show and promptly banned him from returning to the country.

That’s Kenny’s version, at least.

When I ask him how many girlfriends he is currently in “exclusive relationships” with on a semipermanent basis, he pauses.

I prompt him: “Three, or four?”

“Oh no. These are just the girls who were around today. It’s varsity holidays, so most of my girlfriends are out of town right now.”

I’ve known Kenny for years, so I’m not shy to ask: “Ten girlfriends? More?”

“No. It’s more like 15,” he says.

Three of them are currently prancing about in Kenny’s Sandton mansion wearing high heels and bikinis, waiting for their City Press photoshoot.

Playboy founder Hefner is clearly a man close to Kenny’s heart.

He’s wearing his own version of the famous smoking jacket, with “KK” embroidered on the chest pocket.

Kenny’s playing along for this article and photoshoot, largely because we’ve known each other for so long and partly to put paid to tabloid rumours that claim he’s so broke he’s living in a cottage on a generous friend’s property.

If this is a cottage, with its long pool, sweeping staircase, massive marble tiles and a lounge so big you could hold tango classes in it, the rest of us must be living out of our car boots.

I’m not here to admire real estate, though. I’m here to find out how it’s possible to live what Kenny and “his girls” call “the lifestyle”.

The “girls of the Kunene mansion” all seem perfectly aware they’re part of a roster and have to make do with sharing him.

They seem enthusiastic about their ever-jovial partner, all the same.

They don’t mind me publishing their real names – Desiree (studying finance), Lizzy (studying logistics) and Fortunate (studying somatology) – but they’re less keen on being photographed. “Our parents don’t really know what we’re getting up to with Kenny,” they say, giggling.

Kenny tells me he and Desiree are celebrating their one-year anniversary this weekend.

Lizzy’s been with him for a month longer and Fortunate is, as Kenny puts it, “a new one” who joined the harem in October last year.

So, I ask: “What’s the best part of dating Kenny?”

Desiree says: “Just being around him. He just pushes everything to the limit. You never restrict yourself.”

“What? Like, in the bedroom. Or everywhere?” I ask.

Kunene laughs a belly laugh. “Charles, you are naughty.”

“All the time,” Fortunate laughs. “You can never get frustrated with Kenny. He’s never boring. There’s nothing negative to say, really. He respects all the girls the same way, all the time.”

“He treats us like gold,” agrees Desiree. “We all know each other and he doesn’t have to hide anything.”

But Kenny tells me they do often have big arguments and catfights, and he has to “marshal” them carefully because some simply can’t be in the same room with some of the others – never mind the same bed, which is where all of them end up, sooner or later.

Lizzy says: “It’s not jealousy. When new girls come in, they think they are ‘all that’. They don’t understand this lifestyle. They start giving us attitude and we just ignore them.”

If one of the women is too insufferable, apparently the women have a kind of vote and tell Kenny never to invite her back.

“So, they either get with the programme, or they go?” I ask. The women nod.

“It’s for the greater good,” Kenny adds, laughing.

I decide to brave the obvious question: “So do you young women also find yourselves attracted to each other?”

Another chorus: “Yes! Definitely!”

Kenny chips in: “As long as there’s no other man. There’s a lesbian in almost every woman. You just have to create the platform. One of my turn-ons is women kissing.”

There’s another round of laughter.

I ask Kenny if he sometimes finds himself being not just a sugar daddy, but simply a dad. “Do you give them advice on careers, stuff like that?”

“No, no. But I’m very strict on their schoolwork. I make sure that they give me feedback. I’ve told them, ‘If you fail, then you’re out of my life’.

“So they have to work hard. I don’t want to hear anyone saying: ‘She failed because she was with Kenny’. I’m very strict. When we go out, I don’t want anything to happen to them because I’ll get the blame.

So I get them VIP protection, even just to escort them to the bathroom.

“These are decent girls. Just because they’re with me, all of them at the same time, doesn’t detract from that. I’m the only man in their lives. They all have vision. They’re not dependent on ‘Kenny’s money’ to build their future.”

Another thing he’s strict about is regular Aids tests.

They have to show him their results whenever he asks for them. And he gets himself tested too.

The women also, they tell me, police each other to make sure no one strays.

“And they recruit new girls for me all the time!” Kenny exclaims, to another round of laughter.

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