The length of time you work with an organization and could make retirement seem like losing a part of yourself. It is a big decision to make and even a bigger one to execute, particularly because time doesn’t always seem right. This challenge must have been the case with Sandi Burger, Wild Coast Sun Resort’s renowned Public Relations and Promotions Manager, who retired last month after dedicating 35 years of her life to the job.
Remarkably, Sandi’s departure from the Wild Coast Sun Resort is happening just when the resort is preparing to celebrate its 40th birthday at the beachfront. Commenting on her departure and how she would miss the Sun, Sandi said that “every day working here has been both beautiful and different.”
Sandi joined Wild Coast Sun Resort in 1986, charting a remarkable trail of competent service. This move was after she left an advertising agency back in Johannesburg. Adapting to the new role and environment was a little less challenging because she was already familiar with the area before moving. According to her, her family owned a holiday home on the South Coast.
In her 35 years at the Wild Coast Sun Resort, Sandi Burger worked under five general managers beginning with Alberto ‘Chico’ Chiaranda and ending with Peter Tshidi. Recounting her earliest memories, Sandi shared that the resort first opened as a Holiday Inn before it changed to Sun International Resort much later.
Sandi’s Roles and Memories at Wild Coast Sun Resort
As you would expect, Sandi handled many roles in the Sun before ending her journey as the Public Relations and Promotions Manager. While at the resort, she worked as the promotions coordinator, the gaming promotions manager at the casino, where she became the Most Valued Guest (MVG). She also held the role of marketing manager once.
Sandi also recounted her experience back when gambling was illegal in South Africa. With the proliferation of online casinos in South Africa, she watched technology redefine the gaming industry in both the excitement and reward it offers customers.
The Wild Coast Sun, which currently has 396 rooms, originally had 240 rooms. In 1986, a new wing was added to the resort, which increased the number of rooms to 396. Sandi finds it amusing that in 35 years, this wing was still referred to as the ‘New Wing.’ In the same year, the New Wing was created, the resort also added a swimming pool and restaurant.
In 1990, the resort built a Convention Center followed by the popular Wild Waves Water Park in 2010. In the same year, before the Park was built, the resort invested R450 million in a comprehensive revamping. More recently, the Sun has undergone some refurbishment to upgrade it to a 4-star standard.
Sandi explained how back in the day, one of the entertainment events the Sun hosted was betting and bookmaking at a tent with about 300 people. Despite that this was before the legalization of gambling, Sandi said they had no license restrictions. In 1999, when gambling became legal in South Africa, the South Coast Sun got rid of some of its casino machines and tables as more casinos opened around the country, competing for the growing revenue in the industry.