Sibongile Mafu

Kenny Kunene: SA's Playboy

2013-04-10 12:07

Sibongile Mafu

The sushi king has found his calling. Kenny Kunene, known for being an ex-convict, owner of struggling luxury clubs, dear friend of Oscar Pistorius and a lover of dining on sushi from the bodies of unrobed women is back on your televisions, in your newspapers and in your magazines.

His most recent appearance was on yesterday afternoon's Polygamy episode on 3Talk where he talked about his life some more, most notably his large group of girlfriends, aged 24 and below, who he calls is army.

Kunene has always fascinated me because of one thing: he is invested in me and you being fascinated by him. He enjoys being the lab rat of black opulence. Someone whose life and choices are continuously talked about and debated on social media and columns alike. He enjoys being loved and loathed, just as long as people are saying something. Anything.

I was first made aware of the man when the Sushi scandal broke. Who was this Sushi King? What was this ridiculousness all about? And so began conversations around black wealth and conversations around the objectification of women and so forth. Little did we know back then that Kenny was just warming up, he had every intention of being the centre of attention for a long time to come.
He is not the first man and certainly won’t be the last to have a fistful of money and throng of young women who he calls his girlfriends around him. And these women proudly proclaim Kenny theirs, as he showers them with nice things and school fees. Hugh Hefner, the most famous ex-Playboy in the world celebrated his 87th birthday yesterday, and it was quite fitting to find Kenny Kunene on my television talking about the direction his life was taking when across the Playboy grotto, the poster boy for it was celebrating another year of life. Life is disgustingly poetic sometimes. The comparisons between the two have been already been drawn, and Kenny Kunene must be loving it.

I’ve never met Kenny and can only go on what he chooses to share with the world on radio and television interviews and reality shows, but what I gather from him is his constant need to tell me about his life, how well he’s doing and how desirable it all is. He’s easily found a place in this world where he can have any young woman he wants, where his wealth can get him whatever he wants with very little to no repercussions.

But is Kenny just a symptom of what has been so wrong with society for a very long time. The callousness and disrespect in which we treat our women and the incredible value we place on materialism and wealth accumulation? People kept reminding us that Kenny himself is a father, and whether he’d allow his own daughter to be on television parading as the girlfriend of a man old enough to have matriculated with him.

But it’s problematic when we start making these “what if it was your daughter or mother” because during this time that it isn’t, it makes it acceptable. And it isn’t. These kinds of situations shouldn’t only raise a red flag because it’s your daughter, or someone’s daughter. It should raise a flag because women, any woman, every woman, are still trophies who are discarded like day old milk as soon as they begin to rust.

And because we live in the world we do, where women are constantly and easily graded and discarded just as easily, Kenny is able to slip nicely into that system. He just chooses to do it openly and on television where many others practice it in their lives anyway without the glare of a media spotlight.

But it’s easier to call these women that are with Kenny whores, than to critically look at how you treat women in your daily life. Perhaps that should disgust you just as much as a man with an army of 50 girlfriends.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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