Who Is Kenny Kunene? Biography of The Ex-convict Turned Politician

Kenny Kunene is a South African businessman, motivational speaker, ex-convict, finance expert, and former Secretary-General of the Patriotic Alliance. He has become a household name in Mzansi for many reasons. His life is a roller coaster of many remarkable events, some of which are not on the good side. For some, he is a testimony that one can go from prison to palace, and to others, he is the ideal political figure to look up to. Whatever angle you choose to look at from, Kenny Kunene’s has been an interesting one so far.

Profile Summary Of Kenny Kunene

  • Full Name: Kenny Kunene
  • Date of Birth: October 21, 1970
  • Age: 53 years old
  • Gender: Male
  • Nationality: South African
  • Education: Vista University (Central University of Technology)
  • Profession: Businessman, Politician, Teacher, Motivational Speaker, and Reality Star
  • Nickname: Sushi King

Kenny Kunene Comes From the Free State Province

Kenny Kunene is a South African national and comes from the Free State Province. He came into the world on October 21, 1970. He was born and raised in Odendaalsrus, Free State Province in South Africa. Not much is known to the public about his early life. However, he was raised in a humble home by his mother and grandparents. There is no information regarding his father.

His mother was an evangelist and faith healer, while his grandmother was a midwife and was solely responsible for the family’s financial upkeep. Judging by his family’s background, where his grandmother was the family’s sole breadwinner, it is easy to conclude that Kunene did not have it easy growing up. Given the family’s condition, Kunene had to learn to be independent at an early age and try to find a firm footing for himself. He is the third among four siblings.

He had his early education at Marobe Primary School and his high school at Rearabetswe Secondary school. After his high school education, he proceeded to Vista University, which is now known as the Central University of Technology, for his tertiary education and graduated as a qualified educator. Kunene’s background probably served as a driving force for his now very successful life. At 49, he can be described as accomplished in almost every sense of the word and has equally turned around every ugly situation in his life so far.

How Kenny Kunene Was Jailed For Illegal Businesses

Kenny Kunene has had a very lucrative career despite his challenges with the law. He kicked off his career as a high school English and History teacher, having trained for the profession at the university. This career was short-lived as he subsequently went to prison for running an illegal shebeen – an unlicensed private liquor parlor – after school hours and for his involvement in other criminal activities.

He was convicted for operating a Ponzi scheme, considered fraudulent, and was sentenced to prison time. His prison term lasted from 1997 to 2003, and he made the best out of his time in prison and won his fellow inmates over by organizing parties to keep everyone united. He also made some excellent connections that helped him after he became a free man.

It is noteworthy that this was not the first time Kenny Kunene has been docked behind bars. The businessman went to prison for the first time in 1985 at the age of fifteen before his prison term in 1997. He was actively involved in student politics, which was considered a threat to the government of the day in the 1980s. His participation in the protests and uprisings led by students in the Free State Province landed him a six-month jail term.

He Established Other Businesses After His Release

Kenny Kunene returned to his profession after being released from his second prison spell (in 2003) and took up a job at Calculus Private School in Bloemfontein. This paved the way for him to get back into society. Shortly after this, he reconnected with a former inmate, Gayton McKenzie, who was convicted for bank robbery but had become a motivational speaker. They teamed up and invested in seafood distribution.

Their partnership blossomed, and in 2006, the duo founded a publishing platform, X Concept Publishing, which promoted a biography of Mckenzie’s life in prison. They also invested in a mining consultancy business. Kunene was, however, investigated by the Hawks for fraudulent activities in using their mining agency, but he was not charged. He later took up employment as a community relations manager at Central Rand Gold in 2008.

Kunene is a big-time business magnet and has channeled his time into his numerous establishments, including Smart City Technology Company (which has a taxi-hailing app, YooKoo Ride), New Money Record, Mining Consulting, and Investment, Motivational Speaking, WeeklyXpose, and AfricaNews 24-7, among others. He has been in the media as a reality star in So What: Big Money, Big Dreams, which aired on e.tv in 2011, and The Moaning Of Life, a British travel documentary series in 2013.

A Look At Kenny Kunene’s Political Career

Kunene ventured into politics and was an avid supporter of the ANC. In 2013, he wrote an open letter criticizing the ANC administration led by President Jacob Zuma, and by July of the same year, he was already a member of the EFF’s “Central Command Team.” He resigned from the EFF in August 2013, and by September, he was the Secretary-general of a new political party called Patriotic Alliance. Kunene resigned from the PA in 2014 after the elections. Although he is not actively involved in politics, he continues to make political statements.

His Business Includes A Lavish Club House

Kunene owns a lavish club called Club ZAR. The club is famous for hosting outlandish parties and events. In honor of his birthday on October 21, 2010, he threw one of such parties with the then ANCYL president, Julius Malema, as a special guest. At the party, he took his love for sushi a step too far and had the delicacy served on the bodies of semi-naked women. This sparked sharp criticisms from people across the nation.

This action was frowned at by leading political figures, especially within the ANC, who saw it as demeaning to the integrity of women. His guests were also reprimanded for condoning such disrespectful acts against women.

Kenny Kunene has such a fascinating life and, despite his past dark years, has managed to remain positive and make a name for himself in Mzansi. He is currently married with children and enjoying his best life with an estimated net worth of about R260 million as of 2019.

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Romeo Ndlovu
Romeo Ndlovu
Romeo's secret talent is taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary content. At work, he is thinking about how best to provide the most unique, original content that provides utmost satisfaction to the user. Away from work, he is a football addict who loves to catch up on his favorite pastimes


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