Editorial: Stop flaunting your wealth

The New Age Editorial

In a country like South Africa, where there is so much poverty, a disturbing trend has emerged of rich people flaunting their wealth. It is almost like they are saying to the poor: we don’t care about your situation because we are well off.

Kenny Kunene and his sushi parties are, of course, a well-known example of this crassness. But we saw it again this week with the wedding of billionaire David Mabilu. According to a weekend paper, Mabilu spent more than R10m on his wedding, including flying guests and entertainers to a Mauritius resort.

One of the guests was Julius Malema who flew there in business class on Friday straight after a “march for economic freedom”. Apparently, Malema was escorted to OR Tambo Airport by police with blue lights. We also saw it with the lavish party hosted by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who celebrated his 40th birthday with American R&B artists in attendance. The party was apparently financed by Mbalula’s friends. How much it cost is not known.

Of course, people have a right to spend their money in whatever way they want, especially if it is money earned through honest hard work.

The sad reality of the SA situation is that most of the people who flaunt their wealth and telling the poor where to get off, did not earn their wealth the hard way, but through political patronage and connections.

Some of them have used black economic empowerment policies to position themselves to get rich quickly. While Julius Malema pretends to be speaking up for the poor, he still lives the good life.

No wonder that there exists this sense of entitlement among many of the youth today. Surely with role models like Malema, they must be thinking: if he didn’t have to work hard to get all his wealth, why should I?

Young people should be encouraged to work hard to get ahead in life and not be misled by the ostentatious display of wealth by people who should know better.

Real reasons behind the march

Real reasons behind the march


Who survives and who emerges victorious in Mangaung's ANC electoral conference in 2012 will be determined by what happens in the next few months.

The JSE and Union Buildings marches organised by ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema are the first test of strength. Malema has abandoned President Jacob Zuma as a result of a complex mix of factors, all to do with power wielded over tenders.

This has manifested itself in the tussle between Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, on the one hand, and the one between Zuma and both Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on the other.

Malema is leading the charge against the Zuma faction, testing its resolve and forcing it to fight outside its terrain of strength - which is the party bureaucracy. Malema is pushing for a street battle.

Should the Malema marches pull more than 20 000 people, this would buy him enough political currency and space for manoeuvring towards Mangaung and would also be used as bargaining muscle in his disciplinary hearings. A bad showing could be political suicide.

But it must also be remembered that Malema is in a position to rent a crowd. This doesn't mean he has con­sistent or organised support, as demonstrated by the poor showing at his disciplinary hearing. But it could indicate that he is able to attract unemployed young people who are bored and only too happy to be in Johannesburg and Pretoria on a free trip. Malema understands the growing anger of the black masses better than many.

He has moved into the vacuum that exists for a radical pro-black political voice or movement; he has fashioned himself as the warrior for the excluded and denigrated.

Increasingly, he has gone frontal in his attack on the government's failures. His hypocrisy is so brazen you can't but marvel at its nakedness. As recently as April this year, while canvassing votes for the ANC, he said: "No matter how unhappy you are, no matter how angry you are, you can't act against the ANC, because the ANC has never made a mistake."

Not only the poor have been bamboozled
It's not only the poor who have been bamboozled by Malema; many well-meaning black radicals who have fundamental problems with the ANC's 17-year rule have been seduced by his rhetoric. And many blacks are outraged by AfriForum's arrogance and consistent attacks on Malema. All these factors explain to some extent the support Malema may enjoy in the black community.

Juju and Sushi King march for economic freedom

Juju and Sushi King march for economic freedom

AMUKELANI CHAUKE | 28 October, 2011 00:23

"What do you call a 60km march by thousands of ANC Youth League supporters?"

"A comrades' marathon," was the answer.

I giggled at this comment while making my way to Beyers Naude Square, in central Johannesburg, at 7am yesterday. Youth League president Julius Malema was scheduled to lead thousands of young people from the square in what he called a "march for economic freedom".

It didn't cross my mind how tough the walk would be.

Young Communist League leader Buti Manamela reportedly dubbed the march "a one-night stand with the poor" because, he said, it was a once-off affair that would not solve the problems of young people.

I wondered how long a one-night stand was supposed to last as I trudged along Oxford Road, blisters forming on the balls of my feet, under my toes and on my heels. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

The sight of young people, mostly unemployed women, and other richer sympathisers with designer shirts covering large bellies, signalled that Malema and his crowd of about 15000 were about to take the longest march of their lives.

Malema was to lead the march from central Johannesburg, by way of the Chamber of Mines on Marshall Street, to the JSE in Sandton, and then on to Caledonian stadium, in Pretoria.

Unlike the protest against Malema's disciplinary hearing, which turned violent two months ago, yesterday's march was peaceful - but this time more than 1000 policemen were there to keep an eye on everybody.

For about five hours, youth league members sang struggle songs and danced to songs about Malema, while the lazy sat along the pavements of Simmonds Street telling glory stories about their bus ride to the big city for the highlight of their year.

As soon as Malema arrived at Beyers Naude Square, at about midday, wearing his trendy beret and yellow T-shirt with the face of former president Nelson Mandela emblazoned on it, the comrades' marathon got under way.

Said Malema under a canopy from the back of a truck: "If you have a bottle of water, you must share with another person. If you have a can of Coke, you must share with another person. Every little resources we have, we must share together because we are all from poor backgrounds.

"From the Chamber of Mines, we are marching to Sandton, to the JSE. We are not going to run, comrades. We must walk nicely, take your time ... from Sandton, we are going to Pretoria. So those who are not fit, they are going to be exposed today, because those of us who are fit, we are going to Pretoria. This is a long walk to economic freedom."

At the Chamber of Mines, Malema accused the chamber's CEO, Bheki Sibiya, of being the "face of white monopoly capital" - to the giggles of all present.

After handing over a memorandum, the crowd, waving placards and armed with what can only be described as "march survival kits" - backpacks containing bread, fruit juice, cigarettes and a warm jacket "in case the weather changes" - continued singing and dancing towards Sandton.

But they didn't stay a unified force for long.

Marching towards Constitution Hill, in Braamfontein, the marchers split into straggling groups. The stench of sweat pervaded the air and women took off their shoes as the march for economic freedom became ever slower.

But millionaire businessman Kenny Kunene, also known as Mr Sushi, manfully kept pace with Malema at the front, in spite of his extended belly.

With fear etched on their faces, managers of businesses along the route to Sandton closed their doors as they saw the marathon walkers approaching.

By the time they reached Forest Town, some struggling comrades were taking extended breaks on the pavements, and others waited for the taxis and buses behind the procession to pick them up.

One young man was heard saying: "We must send Julius invoices for the shoes we will buy."

"You must soldier on, comrade," said one marcher as I held my waist, a stitch in my side.

"Today you journalists are one of us and can even walk among us," said another, reminding me of when they threw stones at reporters when Malema appeared before Luthuli House's disciplinary hearing not long ago.

Sipho Mnisi, 27, from Linden, northern Johannesburg, said he had marched because unemployment is a "harsh environment". Despite qualifying as a chartered accountant two years ago, he is yet to find a job.

He speaks of what he calls "lies" that "the JSE is spreading" about black ownership of companies.

In an article at the weekend, Malema wrote: "The JSE recently released statistics which claim blacks own 17% of shares in listed companies, which is not true.

"Believing that South African society is gullible, JSE authorities spread misleading information in the hope of mitigating frustration and anger at their refusal to transform."

As we approached Sandton, I looked to my right and saw a sign that read "Keep Walking" on the window of a bottle store.

I then realised that this particular walk had been very long indeed, and I really felt like a shot of the whisky that the slogan represented.

After handing their memorandum of demands to a JSE representative, Malema told the crowd that they would continue to march to Pretoria and rest every 10km.

But I gave up and hobbled to the air-conditioned Rosebank offices of The Times.

Kunene's So What show just rocks

Kunene's So What show just rocks


WHEN I heard that Kenny Kunene was doing a reality show, I cringed and screamed and rolled my eyes, before hanging my head, shaking it, and releasing a deep sigh, and then repeating the sequence several times.

SUSHI KING: Kenny Kunene
GRAND: Kenny Kunene celebrates his birthday in Welkom. PHOTO: Simon Mathebula

To start with, I was annoyed by the cheekiness of the show's title, So What. I asked myself, how was I going to survive Kunene's sushi parties, vanity and bravado the whole season?

Going to his parties in person is torture enough, how much more when he is in your lounge for almost 30 minutes?

I asked myself, what was e.tv thinking? For that matter e.tv was a respected station with sober shows like 3rd Degree!

When it comes to Kunene there are a number of things that sicken me about him.

I can't stand his voice and the fact that he is a show-off join together in a sickening synergy that distresses the hell out of me.

No I'm not jealous about his riches. In fact I love the fact that he is a rich black man, but don't rub it on poor people's faces.

Back to the show. I must say Kunene has given us what we always craved - a peek on the private lives of the rich and famous. Vuzu's Top Shayela, e.tv's, Blame it on fame and SABC1's Jozi Moving the City have nothing on So What

He set up a bar and has made these shows Mickey Mouse programmes.

Any reality show that is to be made after this has to up its game if it does not want to be a laughing stock.

What I love about Kunene's show is that it is invasive. It panders to our curiosity, allowing us to gawk at him and his people for as long as they are willing to be gawked at.

What of taking us to his house, showing us his fatherhood capabilities and taking us to his family graves?

I thought that was brilliant and any black South African who watches the show could relate to some of the goings on in his life.

Another interesting side of Kunene's life is his business.

Vain and windy as he is, he comes across as a shrewd businessman. But somehow one feels he would flounder without his more level-headed business partner Gayton McKenzie.

Kenny Kunene celebrates in style…

Kenny celebrates in style…

This past weekend Kenny Kunene continued the birthday celebrations, in style.
Apparently he decided to wear a Gaddafi inspired outfit and have women walking around in bikini’s and big guns… SMH!
I wonder if the mama’s of these two girls are aware that their daughters were doing such…

Gaddafi-themed birthday party for South African tycoon

Kenny Kunene celebrates 41st by dressing up as the deposed leader, accompanied by models in camouflage bikinis
Kenny Kunene's Gaddafi theme birthday party
Pictures of Muammar Gaddafi were displayed on large TV screens at the party. Photograph: Sabri Elmhedwi/EPA

His 40th birthday party caused uproar when he ate sushi off half-naked models. His 41st was no less colourful or provocative.

Flamboyant South African businessman Kenny Kunene celebrated by dressing up as one of his idols, Muammar Gaddafi, in a flowing cream robe. He surrounded himself with six models wearing camouflage-pattern bikinis and brandishing fake AK47 rifles – an apparent reference to Gaddafi's infamous "Amazonian guard".

The multimillion-rand celebrations, held last week in Alexandra township in Johannesburg, also featured pictures of the deposed Libyan leader on huge TV screens.

Kunene said he was inspired by Nelson Mandela's loyalty to Gaddafi as a supporter of the liberation struggle in Africa.

"I'm very political," Kunene told the Guardian. "I looked at what's happening in Libya and know Gaddafi was overthrown for oil by America and Britain. I felt that I wanted to celebrate Gaddafi as a living legend for contributing to the liberation we enjoy today. I was celebrating him as a father of the liberation struggle. Unfortunately he died the same week."

Asked about his Gaddafi-style costume, Kunene said: "I felt I needed to celebrate him in the way that he lived. I loved his outfits. I don't care if they say they were tasteless. He believed in Africa. He was a man of style and he knew how to dress.

"People at the party were excited. They said, 'You are forever a role model for us'.

He added: "He was the only president I knew who had female bodyguards. I don't denigrate women; I respect them. Girls fight to be around me at parties because I give them a lot of career opportunities and pay them for it. Not just black girls but white girls too."

Gaddafi's death "really hurt," Kunene said. "He died like a martyr. He did not run away from his country. He said he would die there and he did.

"The man had long years as a ruler but I don't think the world has been exposed to the good he did for his country. It is Britain and America who create dictators because the leaders dare not step down for fear of prosecution.

"The international courts have never prosecuted Britain and America for the people they kill in oil-rich countries. I don't hate British people, I don't hate American people. I just hate the governments' way of doing things in other countries."

Nightclub owner Kunene's birthday party last year, costing more than 700,000 rand (or £63,000) triggered a national debate. Images of him eating sushi off half-naked young women earned him the soubriquet "sushi king" and came to symbolise the alleged excesses of South Africa's new black elite. This time, however, he claimed that there were only two men in the world who understood the protection of women: himself and Gaddafi.

Thousands of township residents attended the party, the Star, Johannesburg, reported and were served African cuisine such including as dumplings, tripe and chicken feet.

Kunene, a former teacher who spent six years in prison for fraud, has apparently planned no fewer than six birthday parties. He is not alone inexpressing sympathy for Libya's fallen autocrat. Floyd Shivambu, spokesman for the African National Congress Youth League, said last week: "Brother Leader was ruthlessly killed by rebels armed by Nato forces, who invaded Libya because of its natural resources."

The fact that he was killed in combat was an "inspiration to many freedom fighters across the continent and the world", Shivambu added.

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