UJ remembers legacy of SA hotel tycoon Sol Kerzner
Johannesburg - The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has sent its condolences to the family of businessman Sol Kerzner, who passed on Saturday.
In a statement released on Sunday morning, UJ said that it is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Kerzner, the founder of hotel group, Southern Sun and Sun International.
He passed away on Saturday, 21 March 2020, at his home in Hout Bay, Cape Town, after a long battle with cancer. He was 84-years-old.
Kerzner made an "immense contribution to the building of the UJ’s school of tourism and hospitality, commonly known as STH, alongside former deputy president and current executive director of UN Women, Mrs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the late professor Connie Mogale-Mokadi".
In recognition of his role, the Auckland Park Bunting Road campus STH building was named after Sol Kerzner, who was regarded as the school’s patron alongside former president Nelson Mandela.
"Today the school’s academic offering is complemented by its commercial facilities and has attained the top status of 4-star graded facilities, as was envisaged by Sol Kerzner. STH was named in first position in academic rankings on the continent and 18 globally, as announced by Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)) in February 2019. In 2019, STH celebrated 50 years of excellence in tourism and hospitality education."
STH board chairperson Jerry Mabena lauded Kerzner’s contribution to the tourism and hospitality sector, saying he had left a formidable legacy as an entrepreneur and pioneer of the industry.
STH Director Diane Abrahams said both the staff and students were saddened by the news of Kerzner’s death. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Kerzner and his family for their unrelenting support of the school over the many years. Their support did not end once the STH building was complete,” said Abrahams.
UJ executive dean of the faculty of economics and business management Daneel van Lill paid glowing tribute to Kerzner, describing him as "a self-made legend".
“Sol Kerzner and his family have gone the extra mile in supporting the University of Johannesburg school of tourism and hospitality, generally known as the STH. He believed in the purpose of UJ and laid the foundation of the STH in the year that the university was founded.
"Among many memories, we best recall his sense of humour and the admiration of our students, industry partners and staff alike during his visits. Sol has enabled and empowered numerous young talented South Africans. His legacy, among so many other prestigious awards, is found in transferring skills from those who have them to those who have not. We can't comprehend the enormous loss the Kerzners must feel right now.”
UJ vice-chancellor and principal Tshilidzi Marwala said: “Sol was a great visionary, who through his outstanding work in the hotel and hospitality sector, helped put UJ and South Africa on the global stage. The entire UJ community express our sincere appreciation for Sol Kerzner for believing and helping us to sculpt a better future and helping put UJ on the global stage.
"We express our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and all those who were close to him, during this very difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers, and may his soul rest in peace.”African News Agency