Over the recent past, Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party in the United States presidential race, has commented on more than one occasion about South Africa. While South Africans can scream until they are blue in the face, he was dead-on right in each of his comments. See for example HERE and HERE. Any honest human being who knows that country knows he spoke the truth.

Trump_bI thought I would explore why that is the case, because Americans are typically outrageously ignorant about South Africa. That is how one very nice New York gentleman once told me, “Oh I know South Africa! I was in the Mediterranean in the war!“, and a Masters degree lady told me “Perhaps you know my friend in Liberia“. Another held me, as South African-born, accountable for the excesses of Idi Amin in Uganda. A young Canadian asked me a month ago whether “Africa has countries“.

It is therefore quite incredible that the US Congress should have overridden the veto of President Ronald Reagan in order to impose comprehensive sanctions on South Africa in the 1980s; this while the majority of members of Congress could not find it on a map. So, how is it that Donald Trump should be so spot on in his observations? This intrigued me, until I watched a 2 hour television programme about the rise of Donald Trump some weeks ago. At some quite unimportant point in the movie Trump is in a limo on the way somewhere, and that’s when a blurred image of another passenger in the same limo caught my attention. I was quite sure I had seen THAT man before in the flesh.

It was in the early 1990s on the tropical volcanic Comore Islands in the Indian Ocean, of all places. A new resort had recently been opened on the main island and week-long packaged stays were being sold in South Africa. The man behind the resort was South African real estate magnate Sol Kerzner, the man responsible for Sun City and, now more recently, Paradise Island, which is advertised daily on US TV. My wife and I had bought one of these one week stays on the main island.

Few people knew the Comore Islands at the time, but some would become aware of them some years later when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 would execute a failed water landing in front of the resort after being hijacked. The person who would videograph the event would evidently be next to a white Afrikaans speaking South African lady who would exclaim at the event unfolding before her eyes. Her voice would later be edited out of news reels.

Comores_CrashWhile strolling around the grounds back then in the early 90s, I found Sol Kerzner busy kicking around the grass in front of one of the “cabanas” as though he was unhappy with the lawn quality. I had no particular reason to start a conversation with him and so we proceeded on our way, leaving him to kick at his lawn. However, I mentally filed away the image.

It turns out that, in the intervening years the world’s two major real estate developers, Donald Trump and Sol Kerzner, have been working together quite a bit in the Bahamas and Dubai. No doubt, Donald has been hearing the reality about South Africa from his friend Sol. As regards to what the degree they “hang out together”, the following images may perhaps clarify the situation.

In the image immediately below we have, from left to right, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Heather Kerzner and Sol Kerzner together.

Partners_1In yet another photo below, we have Donald Trump and Heather Kerzner together at another event.

Partners 2Against this backdrop, black actor Samuel L. Jackson is extremely welcome to move to South Africa if Trump becomes president of the USA, which is exactly what he has “threatened”. Perhaps he could play Jacob Zuma in his next movie.

I would suggest the world would be a better place if Kerzner and Trump maintain their relationship. I well remember the young Comorean who hired out for a day to drive us around his island in his Mini Moke. His hero was Sol Kerzner and he waxed lyrically about Kerzner as being an example of what people can do if they set their minds to it.

Perhaps Americans can take an electioneering lesson from the young Comorean. He correctly identified opportunity and hard work, rather than handouts, as a key issue in life. That sounds remarkably like Trump.

Harry Booyens