Sun City (South Africa)
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Sun City Resort
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Sun City is a luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about 140 km northwest of Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. The complex borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. It is made up of a number of themed subresorts with hotels on each, including the original Sun City Resort, The Cabanas, The Cascades and the Lost City (The Palace).
Sun City was developed by the hotel magnate Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on 7 December 1979, then located in the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana.
As Bophuthatswana had been declared an independent state by South Africa's apartheid government (although unrecognised as such by any other country), it could provide entertainment such as gambling and topless revue shows, which were banned in South Africa. Those factors, as well as its relatively close location to the large metropolitan areas of Pretoria and Johannesburg, ensured that Sun City soon became a popular holiday and weekend destination.
The United Nations had imposed a cultural boycott on South Africa in condemnation of apartheid. To overcome this, Kerzner offered substantial financial incentives to performing artists to use Sun City as a venue. Several acts disregarded the boycott and performed at the venue, such as the Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Millie Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra (1981), Paul Anka, Status Quo, Rod Stewart (July 1983), and Elton John (October 1983).
British rock band Queen's series of performances at the venue in October 1984 in transgression of the boycott caused considerable controversy, prompting criticism in the British music press, a fine from the Musicians' Union and their inclusion on the United Nations' blacklisted artists. Following the criticism, Queen strongly defended their decision, saying they "play to anybody who wants to come and listen" and were "a very non-political group", but donated to a school for the deaf and blind to prove their philanthropic values.
On 25 October 1980, Sun City's "Superbowl" hosted a racially mixed world heavyweight boxing championship fight between champion American Mike Weaver and challenger South African Gerrie Coetzee. It was won by Weaver by thirteenth-round knockout. The fight was for Weaver's World Boxing Association world heavyweight title.
In 1985, E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt made the venue the focus of his music-industry activist group Artists United Against Apartheid. Forty-nine top recording artists collaborated on a song called "Sun City", in which they pledged they would not perform at the resort because of their opposition to apartheid. Additionally, Simple Minds included the song as part of a live medley on their Live in the City of Light double album in 1987.
In January 1986 southern Africa’s first monorail – the Skytrain – took its first trip. It connects Sun City’s parking lot to its Entertainment Centre.
Sun City has continued since Bophutatswana was re-incorporated in the new South Africa in 1994.
The resort has four hotels:
- Soho Hotel (Formerly known as Sun City Hotel or The Main Hotel)
- Cascades Hotel;
- The Cabanas;
- The Palace of the Lost City.
Sun City has the Vacation Club which is a hotel but also sold in a timeshare scheme.
Sun City also has two international-standard 18-hole golf courses, the Gary Player Country Club and the Lost City Golf Course, both designed by Gary Player. The Gary Player Country Club is home to the Nedbank Golf Challenge (formerly the Nedbank Million Dollar Golf Challenge) that is held annually.
The Sun City resort has hosted various concerts and events, including the Miss South Africa and Miss South Africa Teen Pageant. These pageants take place annually in Sun City's Super Bowl Arena and the Valley of Waves. It also hosted Miss World pageant five times, from 1992 to 1995, and 2001. The resort was also the site of the Sun City Agreement.
In 2001, Sun City was the site of the 2nd IIFA Awards. Held at the Superbowl Arena, it honoured both artistic and technical excellence of professionals in Bollywood, for that year. Also on that year on 19 May, Irish vocal pop band Westlife held a concert for their Where Dreams Come True Tour supporting their album Coast to Coast.
- (18 October 1985). "`Sun City` Album Tackles Apartheid Issue". Chicago Tribune (Chicago).
- "Elton John South Africa tour jogs memories of Sun City gigs". The Nation. 11 January 2008. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Harris, John (14 January 2005). "The sins of St Freddie". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Oct. 25, 1980: Weaver vs Coetzee - A Heavyweight Slugfest In Sun City". The Fight City. 2018-10-25. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
- "The Big 40! - Sun City". Retrieved 2021-02-23.
- "Soho Hotel | Sun City South Africa". www.sun-city-south-africa.com. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
- "Cascades | Sun City South Africa". www.sun-city-south-africa.com. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
- "The Palace". www.suninternational.com. Sun International.
- "Sun City Golf | Gary Player Country Club | Lost City Golf Course". suncity.hotel.co.za. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
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