Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Johannesburg Sun Hotel on Jeppe Street was one of Sol Kerzner's greatest follies. A committed liberal, Kerzner really thought he could build a five star luxury hotel in the middle of Johannesburg in the mid 1980s, and that it would remain as a standard bearer for his Sun International Group. When it opened, we used to go for drinks after work at Judges, the luxuriously appointed bar, so named because the building is just around the corner from the Supreme Court. But, of course, nothing could withstand the onslaught of the New South Africa, and very quickly, as central Johannesburg's complexion changed, fewer and fewer tourists came to stay at the hotel. It turned a roaring loss - have cost untold millions to build - and eventually Sun International abandoned the building and it closed down, with the company just writing off the millions it had put into the site. But, it seems, there is no end to liberal suckers, and the Holiday Inn Group then bought the empty building, and tried to turn it into a "Holiday Inn Express". This also proved to be a dreadful flop, and the hotel was closed down and emptied for the second time. But, there is no end to the chumps: a new set of madmen re-opened the building in 2002 as the KwaDukuza Egoli Hotel, which means 'Gathering Place in the City of Gold'. Unfortunately for them, this plan aslo, utterly predictably, saw its arse, and today, once again, the 20 odd storey building stands desolte, boarded up and empty, waiting for the inevitable...

Below: The empty tower block...


Blogger VisaDude said...

The amazing thing about all these photos is that there is never any whites walking around!

Towards the end of my stay in Cape Town I use to often be out and about and I would be standing in line at a bank or walking around the street and would think to myself: SHIT! I am the ONLY white around here.

Did/does anyone else ever feel that way?

Protect yourself. Get that visa today.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I lived there and currently live in australia it will eventually get worse like the rest of africa

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you need to justify your leaving SA? If you didnt see colour so pathologically, maybe being the only white (or any other race, for that matter) around wouldnt be a problem.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous URBAN said...

You have to go back a few years before it was built.On the site was a parking garage unique in that it had a lift that took your car upt to the parking. Ah well it didnt last. What was the hotel that was on the site before. Forgot the name it had a sister hotel near the airport. Remember all marble finishes very plush in its day all to be pulled down.To be replaced by another white elephant.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a ugly building, in time I presume it will be systematically trashed by the good folk of the city.

3:59 AM  
Blogger annie said...

I could be mistaken but wasnt the marble building the tollman Towers? my parents spent their wedding night there back in 1977, they were very impressed by the car lift and still talk about it today!!

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the white South Africans thinking of immigrating, go to Australia or NZ because coming to the U.S.A. will be like staying in SA. Most big American are similar to SA (crime,trash, guns) believe me I was born in Oakland, California, I see the similarities!!!

7:51 AM  

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