Kenny Kunene’s letter to Zwelinzima was cute and funny. The way he flaunts his riches around is not and he can write me a letter for saying this, it’s okay. He did an interesting interview with Sunday Times talking about how he’s buying a Lamborghini, worth way over a million etc etc etc, I just see a Mandla Mthembu minus a Mbau… but I think he’s wiser… all those years in jail hopefully taught him something.
He was very pleasant enough to share with us just how he made his millions and I thought it would be cool to share so we could learn a thing or two from him. If that’s possible.
So, here is how Kenny became the stinking rich man he is:
- In jail, Kenny Kunene says, he earned R22 a month making tea for the warders at Grootvlei Prison, and other cash and goods working for Gayton McKenzie “in the smuggling business”;
- On his release in 2003, he declined numerous invitations to take part in robberies and scams, despite having only R3000 in his bank account;
- In 2004, he earned a small wage as the agent for a man selling refurbished desks and stationery to schools in the Free State;
- Still in 2004 he used his old contacts to arrange discounts on equipment for a partner starting a nightclub in Odendaalsrus, and earned a stake in the business;
- In September 2005, he got a teaching job at Calculus Secondary School in Bloemfontein, teaching life orientation and English, for which he earned R3000 a month. He bought an old VW Golf, but had to put it on blocks;
- In 2006, with less than R10000 in assets, he struck a deal with Gayton McKenzie to form X Concepts Publishing to promote and sell McKenzie’s prison biography. They also began a fish company with four trucks and a refrigerated warehouse, and later sold it “for profit”;
- Kunene became rich in 2007 selling tickets for McKenzie’s motivational talks to companies for “big money” and also advised people on “holes” in their home security for a fee. A portion of the money they made from the book sales was invested in a “mine consultancy business”. Benefactor Greg James’s company, CRG, hired Kunene on a large contractor’s salary. He does not deny that he received share options allegedly worth hundreds of thousands of rands;
- In February 2008, he was appointed a senior manager of community relations at CRG. He bought a multimillion-rand Sandton apartment and a Porsche 911, using a numberplate that read “What now?” as a taunt to prisoners who said he could not afford the car without resorting to crime;
- Applying business lessons he says they had learnt from mentors, James and Gavin Varejes, Kunene and McKenzie attracted foreign investors and became part owners of “about three, four companies”; and
- In February 2010, the pair began mining operations in Zimbabwe. Kunene says they are in the process of securing R140-million in start-up funding from foreign investors for a R700-million mining project “in another African country” and plan further ZAR clubs in Durban and Mozambique.