Sol Kerzner

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Sol Kerzner (1935-2020) [1]. Hotel, entertainment and gambling magnate.


Born Solomon Kerzner in Troyeville, Johannesburg, in 1935, he was the youngest of four children of Russian Jewish immigrants. His family started a hotel chain and having trained in accounting, he entered the hospitality industry in 1962 when he purchased the Astra, a small inn located in Durban. His breakthrough project was the construction of the Beverley Hills in Umhlanga Rocks - the first five-star hotel in South Africa. In partnership with South African Breweries he established the company Southern Sun Hotels and by 1983 he was operating 30 luxury hotels. Out of this he evolved a number of related companies operating in the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries: e.g. Sun International, One&Only Resorts (operating luxury properties in countries such as the Bahamas, Mexico, the Maldives, Mauritius, Dubai, and South Africa.), Kerzner International, etc.

The University of Johannesburg said that Kerzner had made an immense contribution towards building the University's multimillion rand School of Tourism and Hospitality at its Auckland Park, Johannesburg, campus.

In 2010, Kerzner was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, with the award of the insignia Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) and in 2014 he retired, leaving Kerzner International.

Four times married, Kerzner counts among the wives the former actress and Miss World, Anneline Kriel, and five children, Howard, Andrea, Beverley, Brandon and Chantal, as well as ten grandchildren.

After a long struggle with cancer, Kerzner passed away at the family home, Leeukoppie Estate in Cape Town, on Saturday 21 March, 2020.

Contribution to theatre, film, media and performance in South Africa

In 1975, Kerzner started with the creation of Sun City, which opened in 1979 but was ultimately a construction project that lasted ten years. Made up of four hotels, a man-made lake, two golf courses and a 6 000-seat arena and entertainment centre (also known as The Super Bowl). Because it was situated in an "independent homeland" (i.e. not restricted by apartheid laws), Sun City and its facilities served as a venue where international stars and acts, as well as international sports events, could be offered during the Apartheid era and the cultural and economic boycott. There was a great deal of controversy about , and international protests against, this tactic, but not to much avail.

Based on the success of this centre, he gradually became involved in many other international hotel and gambling resorts, and when gambling was legitimized and apartheid laws were relaxed in South Africa, other similar venues were established elsewhere in the country as well.


Eyewitness News, 22 march 2020[2]

"Sol Kerzner dies at 84", Weekend Argus, Cape Town, 22 march, 2020.

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