Sun City (South Africa)

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Sun City
Sun City (South Africa)
Sun City
Sun City
Coordinates 25 ° 21 ′  S , 27 ° 6 ′  E Coordinates: 25 ° 21 ′  S , 27 ° 6 ′  E
Basic data
Country South Africa


District Bojanala Platinum
local community Moses Kotane
Residents 1299 (2011)
founding 7th December 1979
Website (English)
Sun City
Sun City
Entrance to a casino in Sun City
Artificial beach in Sun City

Sun City is a leisure complex in the Northwest Province of the Republic of South Africa . It is located about 150 kilometers northwest of the metropolitan areas of Johannesburg and Pretoria , surrounded by the Highveld and in the immediate vicinity of the Pilanesberg National Park and the Pilanesberg International Airport . The Sun International resort has a wide range of entertainment venues such as casinos , shows, luxury hotels, man-made waterfalls, golf courses, and other sports facilities. During the apartheid period it was boycotted by many international artists.

History and planning

Bophuthatswana , one of the homelands established by the South African apartheid regime, became the focus of foreign investment in the second half of the 1970s. The funds flowed primarily into industry, supermarkets, hotels and casinos. The investment management was in the hands of the Bophuthatswana National Development Corporation (BNDC), the state economic development company of Homeland. The South African Standard Bank was the main partner of the Homeland government in the banking sector and thereby gained control of a large part of the state budget. In 1983 the Standard Bank of Bophuthatswana opened .

Early activities to build a hotel-casino complex worth R25 million came in 1978 from Frasers Ltd. together with the BNDC. In 1979 it was announced that the Sun City project of Southern Sun Hotels Bophuthatswana (Pty) Ltd. with a volume of 35 million rand. BNDC Investment and RSA Holding Co. Investment each contributed 400,000 Rand financially in the start-up phase through share capital . Investment funds from the Yabeng Investment Holding Company, based in Mmabatho at the time, also flowed into the hotel group.

Operation and first expansion

Sun City was designed as a division of the Southern Sun Hotel by South African entrepreneur Sol Kerzner and opened on December 7, 1979.

In 1983, the chairman of the BNDC announced a further hotel expansion at the Sun City resort , which in the meantime had become the main tourist destination in Homeland Bophuthatswana. It came under criticism because of its political collaboration with Pretoria. On the initiative of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM), a black list of people in show business who visited Sun City was created. The BNDC chairman Wynand van Graan put the financial volume of the state economic development for hotels and resorts located in Bophuthatswana in the period 1983-84 at 58 million rand, supplemented by 60.4 million rand from the investor area. In 1984, President Lucas Mangope publicly praised Sun International's involvement in the overall development of his homeland, including expansions in Sun City and similar projects elsewhere ( Thaba Nchu , Mmabatho ). The South African capital market provided the necessary investment funds.

Until the end of apartheid in 1994, the leisure complex was in what was then the homeland. Since gambling was tolerated and promoted by the government of Bophuthatswana - unlike that of "white" South Africa - this was the only place in the northern part of the country where gambling was not prohibited. Sun City was therefore considered the Las Vegas of South Africa; The resort is popularly known as Sin City .

Boycott the anti-apartheid movement

During the apartheid period, Sun City was heavily criticized. Although the resort was one of the few places where there was no segregation between blacks and whites, the leisure complex was a product of the apartheid regime. For the majority of the population, the ANC and the global anti-apartheid movement, Sun City symbolized the double standards of South African politics at that time. Kerzner met the international calls for a cultural boycott of South Africa, among others by the United Nations, with high fees. From 1980 Elton John , Leo Sayer , Cliff Richard , Gloria Gaynor , Chicago , Rick Wakeman , Cher , Kenny Rogers , Dolly Parton , George Benson , Frank Sinatra , Queen , Shirley Bassey , Barry Manilow , David Essex and Rod Stewart performed there on.

1985 started under the name Artists United Against Apartheid one of Steven Van Zandt initiated joint project, involving the well-known over fifty international musicians. They promised not to perform in Sun City. The album Sun City and the single of the same name reached worldwide chart positions ; The income from the record sales went to the Africa aid fund, political prisoners and cultural institutions. After the album was released, the pressure on the boycott breakers had become so great that many announced that they would no longer perform there. In 1987 Black Sabbath played there, in 1988 Modern Talking and Laura Branigan were the only acts from overseas, in 1989 only Irene Cara and again Laura Branigan.

After the end of apartheid

The initial facilities, which included the Sun City Hotel with its casino, a golf course and a theater, were supplemented over time by other hotels, casinos, an amusement park, sports facilities, restaurants, conference rooms, shows and events. Due to the leisure offer and the proximity to Johannesburg and the Pilanesberg National Park , Sun City has developed into a popular travel destination in South Africa with an increasing number of visitors every year. The hotel has been in the amusement park since 1992Palace of the Lost City , which belongs to the marketing alliance “ The Leading Hotels of the World ” and opened with a show by Jean-Michel Jarre . In 2010 the FIFA planning talks for the 2010 World Cup took place in Sun City.

Today the resort includes five three- to five-star hotels, an amusement park, two golf courses and an entertainment center. The amusement park is home to, among other things, an artificial sunken city, which is supposed to remind of lost African cultures, with figures carved in stone and other attractions.


  • Tracey Hawthorne, Herman Potgieter and others: Sun City. Africa's kingdom of pleasure. Struik, Cape Town 1996, ISBN 1-86825-850-5 .
  • Aljoscha Weskott, Maria Kesting (ed.): Sun Tropes. Sun City and (Post-) Apartheid Culture in South Africa. August-Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-941360-04-4 . (The accompanying film Sunny Land was released in 2010.)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ SAIRR : Survey of Race Relations in South Africa 1978 . Johannesburg 1979, pp. 304, 313, 315
  2. a b c SAIRR: Survey 1983 . 1984, pp. 396-397
  3. SAIRR: Survey 1978 , 1979, p. 315
  4. SAIRR: Survey 1979 , 1980, p. 360
  5. ^ African Sky Safaris & Tours: Sun City . on (English)
  6. ^ South African History Online: Solomon Kerzner . on (English)
  7. ^ SAIRR: Race Relations Survey 1984 . Johannesburg 1985, pp. 598-599
  8. ^ Michael Drewett, Martin Cloonan: Popular music censorship in Africa. Aldershot, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7546-5291-5 , p. 26, digitized p. 42
  9. ^ Michael Drewett, Martin Cloonan: Popular music censorship in Africa. Aldershot, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7546-5291-5 , p. 27 f., Digitized p. 43 f.

Web links

Commons : Sun City  - collection of images, videos and audio files