The famous ZAR business bromance seems to be a thing of the past – and it’s all because of porn.
Both Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie confirmed to City Press each of them will be “focusing on pursuing their own business interests” from now on, “independent of each other”.
The two are well known for calling one another “brother”, with both often saying in interviews “there’s nothing I do that my brother is not a part of”.
They met in prison more than a decade ago. After their release from jail, McKenzie and Kunene began working together, in 2006, first to publicise McKenzie’s motivational talks and later to work in mining, the establishment of the ZAR nightclub franchise and So What, an e.tv reality show based on Kunene’s life.
But last week, McKenzie instructed his lawyers to have their shared business interests unbundled and sold to Kunene.
He says it is mostly Kunene’s determination to steer the business towards making pornography that has led to them parting ways.
McKenzie first revealed ZAR’s plans to go into shooting porn films last year, but was hasty to add that “it’s more something for Kenny, not me”.
Both downplayed suggestions that the business split meant the end of their friendship. “No, not at all,” says McKenzie.
“I watch porn, but I never saw myself as someone who’d make porn. It’s also not something I think we need to do, as businessmen, but Kenny is determined to be South Africa’s Hugh Hefner.
“That’s fine, I would never stand in his way, but I want to focus on building a big motivational speaking company, on my books, and on talking to school kids, as well as staying focused on my interests in mining.
“I just can’t see myself speaking to school kids in the morning and then going off to produce a porn film right afterwards. Kenny will take over the entertainment side of things.
“I’ll focus on what I love, just the same.
“Most of the ZAR management group support his plans, by the way. I was totally outvoted, so that’s why I’m selling my part. But we’re staying friends.”
A ZAR staff member, who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity, said the men had been arguing a lot recently, with Kunene adamant he will not tone down his public profile.