I know that there are a lot of top people in the ANC and in business who support Malema privately, and yet they dare not show their public support for him just because they are afraid of losing tenders
These people are hypocrites. They are the sort of people who spend a fortune... then turn around to criticise me for doing the same
His reality TV show, So What, debuts on Saturday on e.tv at 7.30pm
"SUSHI King" Kenny Kunene has attributed his success in business to white people.
In an interview with Sowetan at the new Southern Sun Hotel in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, Kunene, who had a whole camera crew in tow, shooting his every move, was for the first time quite open about his climb to the top of the social ladder and the business world.
Famous for eating sushi off semi-naked women, the controversial businessman says black people, who have become his fierce critics, did not help him escape poverty.
Instead, whites did when they opened doors for him after 18 months of unemployment after he had come out of jail.
"When I came out of jail, I had no job for 18 months, and when I eventually got a job at a private school earning only R3,000 a month (before mysteriously clinching business deals) it was through white people.
"I was made by white people and no black person made me, including those who are now criticising me," Kunene said yesterday.
He said when he was unemployed and struggling most people isolated themselves from him.
The tycoon also said defiantly that no matter what, he would continue to support ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema in the face of various charges brought against him by the ANC.
Kunene also said he owed nobody an apology for living a good life, including throwing lavish parties.
He had worked hard for his money, and, contrary to public perceptions, had actually spent some of this money on charity, especially in the townships.
"Some people called me and criticised me for supporting Malema publicly in the face of the charges. My answer is that I will continue supporting Malema because when I was criticised (for the parties) he publicly defended me, and therefore I am not now going to leave him in the cold.
"I am supporting him in return because I appreciate what he did.
"And, for a fact, I know that there are a lot of top people in the ANC and in business who support Malema privately, and yet they dare not show their public support for him just because they are afraid of losing tenders.
"I do not have a tender, even though I would love to have one. So I do not worry about losing a tender by supporting someone like Malema, who supported me in my hour of need," Kunene declared, throwing up his hands in anger.
The controversial businessman reserved most of his criticism for his detractors, who often speak out about his lavish parties, as they often say the expensive parties take place in a society characterised by immense inequalities between the rich and the poor, and he would serve society much better if he invested among the poor by, for example, building houses.
"These people are hypocrites. They are the sort of people who spend a fortune on expensive whisky, including buying a 21-year-old bottle, which as a businessman I actually like.
"The problem is they then turn around to criticise me for doing exactly the same.
"I am not the only businessman throwing expensive parties.
"My crime is that I am an ex-convict, and the fact that I go public about the parties, while they do it in the privacy of their homes. And besides, who says that you should work hard to earn money to give to the poor?
"Today in my office I have piles of proposals from young black people who would never dream of going to the same people criticising me. Those young people have confidence in me and not in those people because they know they are useless, and will not help them."
There are now several versions of how Kunene made his fortune.
The popular one is that when he and his business partner Gayton McKenzie were released from prison, McKenzie penned a book about his life inside.
Kunene helped him sell the book as McKenzie's right-hand man when McKenzie held motivational talks at schools discouraging pupils from crime.
"I am loyal to my friends. Gayton and I were best friends in prison, and we still are outside prison, and are today business partners. It is the same loyalty that calls for me to support Malema because he supported me also."
The businessman's new reality TV show, So What, debuts on Saturday on e.tv at 7.30pm.