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21 Ways to Leave Your Lustre

30 July 2000

SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA – July 30, 2000 – As reported by the Sunday Times: "If anything, it is a place that has at its core a neon drenched megalomania, and one cannot think of Sun City without considering its creator, the hotel magnate Sol Kerzner.

"…In its early days, the resort was seen as an anaesthetised Sodom for suburbia, a glitzy getaway for middle South Africa seeking respite from the puritanism of Christian nationalism; a place just 90 minutes' drive from Johannesburg where they could indulge in otherwise illegal activities like gambling, topless revues and arty soft-porn movies.

"Nowadays, the 'burbs are choked with brothels, kitsch casinos and sleaze emporiums. By contrast, Sun City - which is celebrating its 21st birthday with a splatter of lavish parties that recall its headier heyday - has blossomed into a wholesome if tawdry family entertainment centre.

"Last Saturday, for example, the place was crawling with cyclists of all ages, entrants in the Sun City Duathlon. Had this been summer, they would have all been down at the Valley of the Waves, screaming down the waterslides, or taking a game drive in the nearby Pilanesberg reserve.

"…After all, Sun City was the flagship of a company that had for years enjoyed a monopoly on gaming in South Africa. The low bantustan taxes Sun International enjoyed rose dramatically once the homelands were reincorporated into the country. Coupled with this is the unpalatable fact that the resort itself has yet to show returns that justify the enormous spending that went into the place - a situation compounded by the growing number of competitor casinos in metropolitan areas.

"It must be a grim feeling. Having first seduced and then suckled the country with its slots, the resort now loses its punters to shopping-mall casinos all over the East Rand..."

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