Sun of the soil: Kerzner’s life was a tale of contradictions

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Sun of the soil: Kerzner’s life was a tale of contradictions

The ‘Sun King’ lived large, and sometimes hard, as he built a glittering empire often dogged by controversy

Wyndham Hartley

Sol Kerzner, the man who gave an entire generation of South Africans their first taste of gambling and blue movies through his use of the international status of apartheid bantustans, has died at the age of 84.

Wealth beyond imagining and controversy were never far behind Kerzner who, after cutting his entrepreneurial teeth on the hotel industry in Durban, went on to create one of the most astonishing resorts, Sun City.

Sun City is estimated to have cost R35m in 1979. Important in understanding the resort is that it was in the then apartheid homeland of Bophuthatswana where the then leader, Lucas Mangope, allowed gambling. It is no accident that Sun City had two casinos...

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