‘Sun King’ and ‘Queen of Entertainment’ shine on

  • 2A0A0526
It was a surprise double celebration for long-time collaborators Sol Kerzner and Hazel Feldman, when they discovered that they were both winners of Absa Jewish Achiever Awards.
by MIRAH LANGER | Sep 06, 2018

To a standing ovation over the soundtrack of the hit song by Queen, We will rock you!, Kerzner slowly made his way up to the stage to receive his Lifetime Achievement accolade.

“I feel honoured and humbled to receive this award,” the 83-year-old hotelier extraordinaire, dressed in a dapper navy-blue suit, told the crowd. “It’s been a great journey… I’m just fortunate that it all worked out very well.”

Kerzner, who is the mastermind behind many of the world’s most iconic hotels, detailed how it was his youthful, romantic forays that inspired his first luxury hotel. “I said, ‘I’m going to build South Africa’s first real great hotel’.” He knew he wanted it to be in Umhlanga Rocks, because, as he declared at the time, “I take my girlfriends out there, and it’s very nice!”

Lauding Kerzner in a video tribute was his friend and well-known psychologist, Dorianne Weil. She recalled how she had “always heard these stories about this young, dynamic entrepreneur full of chutzpah, who challenged convention, made hotels into entertainment, and waved his magic wand and things happened”.

Immediately after Kerzner, Hazel Feldman was called up to accept her award. The legendary queen of entertainment, Feldman received the Art, Sport, Science, and Culture Award.

Feldman confessed that her retirement was not going so well. “I tell everyone I am retired; then the phone rings, and I can’t say no!”

In fact, joked Feldman, when people asked her why she kept working to bring international musicals to South Africa, she blamed her husband. “It’s because Sam wants to keep me out of the kitchen.”

In truth, though, she remains driven by a “continued passion” for piecing together performances of pizzaz. “I love the process of musical theatre… it is very special to me,” Feldman said in a video compilation of her career highlights.

It was a happy coincidence that the Jewish Achiever Awards night fell on her wedding anniversary. “This is a kind of kismet, because this is our 50th wedding anniversary. Sam has put up with me for the 50th year, which is quite extraordinary. I’ve been blessed in my life.”

Her long-time Musical Director, Bryan Schimmel, who was last year’s winner of this award, paid tribute to her in the video, saying, “Hazel is by far the best and finest producer in South Africa.”

Feldman’s son, Tony, who works with her in her company, Showtime, said, “It’s been a privilege and an honour working with you, and also having you as my mother.”

The recipients were overjoyed to discover that they were both winners on the night. “I didn’t know about Sol winning. It’s just wonderful,” said Feldman. “I have such respect for him, and he was such a major part of my life, so I am absolutely delighted.”

Kerzner described this unexpected occurrence as “just fantastic”. “I’m very, very happy,” he declared.

The professional interaction and personal friendship between the two goes all the way back to 1979, when Kerzner called Feldman, asking her to join him on a fledgling project he was planning at that time – Sun City.

“To a large extent, that call changed my life. Sun City changed the playing field in South Africa,” said Feldman on accepting her award.

For the next 14 years, Feldman managed entertainment at Sun City. During this period, the hotel became a destination for some of the most famous musical acts of all time, including Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Elton John, and Freddie Mercury.

Feldman said it was fortuitous that she and Kerzner had received their awards on the same night. “It’s going full circle,” she said.

During her thank-you speech, Feldman paid tribute to Kerzner’s influence on her life:

“Sol taught me that it is not only an option to think big and think internationally – it’s the only way to think!”

Turning to address Kerzner directly, Feldman declared: “I do not believe, Sol, that I would be going and doing the things that I ended up doing… if it wasn’t [for] your vision and ability to open up everybody’s minds. For that I thank you.”

When Feldman left the stage, she hugged and kissed Kerzner before returning to her seat.

Speaking later in the evening, Kerzner expressed his admiration for Feldman, saying that they had worked “beautifully” together at Sun City.

“She is a very, very talented lady,” he said.



  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.


My Place advert 300px x 300px 110820




Yad Aharon GENERIC2020


Follow us on