Defend Truth


Open letter to Kenny Kunene


Moloto Mothapo is senior manager for media and communication at the ANC parliamentary caucus. Previously he worked as information officer, and also acted as spokesperson, for the Congress of SA Trade Unions. He holds a degree in journalism. This letter contains strictly his personal views.

The Sushi King gathers a great deal of media attention. But does anyone take him seriously? I certainly don’t.

Dear Kenny Kunene,

This is the first time I have ever written an open letter to anyone. You see, I’m an old-fashioned guy who believes letters should be sent signed and sealed directly to their intended recipients. I have always believed this habit of sending letters opened, which means addressees get to see them for the first time together with millions other eyes, is discourteous.

It is not different from the profane graffiti one normally finds in public or school toilets. Judging by the tone and colourful language you used in your open letter to the president, one would swear you used to be one of those naughty graffiti artists during your school days. Methinks the South African Post Office should be concerned by this tendency to undermine its competent service. Did you know that the post office prides itself in the motto “we deliver – whatever it takes”? You might want to try them next time; their postage stamps are reasonably priced (not that a millionaire businessman like you would worry about prices of stamps).

You should be asking yourself: “Who is this fellow writing me, the King of Sushi, an open letter?” I am doubtful that the “king”, from his high and mighty throne in a sushi palace, has ever heard of a lowly ANC parliamentary communicator like me.

This is because I don’t believe our paths have ever crossed, having never visited your ZAR palace or attended any of your festivities where I’m told money and expensive champagne are thrown in the air and your favourite delicacy, sushi, is eaten from almost naked bodies of women.

I have also heard that the King’s palace brags about incalculable young women whom he sleeps with whenever he wishes, and that this lifestyle has inspired the King to venture into the pornographic industry. You recently publicly bragged about sleeping with under-aged girls (children) during your previous life as a teacher and have threatened to “f**k” the wife of some politician you disagreed with.

I know little about you, except from occasionally coming across your social escapades reported on in the media, which have kept social commentators’ tongues wagging overtime and provided rare entertainment to some bored members of the public – while repulsing others.

It is impressive that the King often takes a break from the daunting tasks of the playboy palace and chomping sushi to remind us of ancient tales such as The Emperor’s New Clothes. However, if the king were familiar with the full content of the tale rather than merely the phrase, “the naked emperor”, he would have appreciated the striking resemblance between himself and that of the naked emperor.

The media finds your escapades and controversial public demeanour intriguing. This, coupled with your ability to command attention at whatever cost, has lengthened your media shelf life. Good for you! The King has mastered the art of pole dancing to the media: stripping every piece of clothing item with each urging from the media until he is completely naked. I believe that the King, much like the emperor, has been without clothes for a very long time.

The naked emperor in the tale you referred to, like you, His Majesty the King of Sushi, lived the life of opulence and conspicuous consumption. He was the lover of everything beautiful and when swindlers came to the emperor’s city to sell him invisible clothes made from magnificent material, he couldn’t wait to parade such a design to all and sundry. The invisible new clothes would enable him to tell clever people from stupid ones and to know which of his men were fit for their positions.

Can you imagine, a naked emperor in public wagging a judgemental finger at others? When he finally appeared in public, it was a small child who first screamed, “But he doesn’t have anything on!”

However, even though he realised he wasn’t wearing anything, the emperor carried himself even more proudly and proceeded with the public parade.

It is the illusionary sense of self-importance that, despite his nakedness, the emperor believed he could fool people into thinking he is dressed in magnificent clothes. Despite the King of Sushi’s scandalous demeanour and controversial escapades, which have stripped him of any moral standing in the eyes of the right thinking public, he seems to still harbour a false belief – similar to that of the naked emperor – that he can distinguish right from wrong, good from bad and clever from stupid.

Like the naked emperor, who was only known for either showing off his clothes or having a different costume for every hour, your claim to fame and your media presence is solely as the king of opulence and conspicuous consumption, a proud womaniser and a confessed statutory rapist.

Having stripped off every piece of clothing and respect to satisfy the cheering of the media crowd, the King of Sushi – just like the naked emperor who proudly paraded in the nude – still believes he can offer valuable advice on important political and governance matters. Can the opinion of the naked emperor regarding who among us is wise or foolish be taken seriously?

You have, whenever you’re caught with your pants down, often reminded us that you are not a role model – which means your statements and actions should neither be taken seriously nor emulated. You should therefore be startled, albeit pleasantly, that your letter received so much media space. All of a sudden certain people seemed to be interested in what you had to say.

Such media attention and extensive quotations by some commentators such as Prince Mashele must have further fed your delusion of grandeur and made the king feel like some kind of a philosopher. “King of Sushi, the philosopher”, it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, your majesty; even the naked emperor’s lieutenants and supporters assured him that he was dressed in a stylish gown.

In fact, when they saw him emerging in that state, they screamed: “Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!”

I can imagine this sudden attention and endorsement among those who call themselves academics or public intellectuals should be enough to make even the exposed king feel decently covered. I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you, King, because such approval is usually bestowed to any Tom, Dick and Harry who can knit a few phrases together to qualify as an insult to the president.

It just happened that you, wittingly or unwittingly, appealed to their anti-Zuma prejudices. You see, when it comes to anti-Zuma sentiments, there’s always that media space reserved for controversial “kings” like you, including those convicted of multiple crimes such as arson, kidnapping and culpable homicide.

Whenever that happens, the ANC is often put in an uncomfortable and unwinnable position of dignifying mindless expletives with a “no comment” response. Believe me, that is enough to make any naked sushi emperor feel decent.

I guess what I wanted to say through this open letter, and I hope this revelation doesn’t break your heart, is that regardless of the media attention you receive, no right-thinking South African really takes you seriously. I know I don’t.

I’m sorry I had to be the one to drop this bombshell, but somebody had to.

Yours respectfully,

Moloto Mothapo DM