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Thursday, December 21, 2017


(Greg Ardé & Gerard de Rauville)

The Sugar Farmer’s Son, the biography of Durban businessman, Gerard de Rauville, offers inspiring insight into a remarkable man.

Journalist / editor Greg Ardé has created a thoroughly-researched and engaging biography of one of Durban’s most steadfast and respected businessmen and tenacious characters who, despite tragedies of Hollywood proportions, led an astonishing inventive and illustrious career marrying accounting and property.

“I became fascinated with Gerard de Rauville in the course of this project,” explains Ardé. “He was born of immigrants and overcame a spell of blindness in his 20s. He had to take over his family’s affairs when he was 26 after his parents and sister died in the 1968 SAA air disaster in Namibia. The book is mostly set in Durban. I hope it is rollicking good read, but with tender insights. Gerard’s story is a gripping ensemble of history, business, family drama, politics and religion.”

de Rauville had a stellar business career working as an accountant and partner at De Ravel, Boulle, Saad and Wyman, one of Durban’s biggest firms. There he rescued the JSE listed firm Marshalls. He left to form Grovewalk, a property fund listed on the JSE and responsible for many big property deals in Durban, including the construction of The Breakers at Umhlanga and scores of notable developments. He also led or held executive positions at Grove Property Fund and Pangbourne, also listed on the JSE.

De Rauville and Ivan Clark formed Provest, a wildly successful property company that traded in property stock on the JSE and was later bought by Investec.

De Rauville was also the longest serving chairman of Zurich SA, a position he retired from soon after he suffered a near fatal stroke which occurred soon after he and his wife Norma moved into their new home at Mount Edgecombe Estate 1 in 2012.

Journalist Wendy Knowler describes the book as: “an inspiring tale of a rich life filled with love and drama.”

Sowetan publisher Philani Mgwaba says: “Greg Ardé has done a fine job of bringing to life the story of this remarkable family and a leading South African businessman. It’s a motivational, absorbing tale of unbelievable heartbreak, but also of resilience and courage.”

Jonathan Ancer, author of Spy: Craig Williamson Uncovered, described The Sugar Farmer’s Son as “a most readable biography … a fascinating insight … it paints a three-dimensional and vivid picture of a man with flaws and foibles; a smart character fulsomely brought to life in his grittiness, sense of humour, humility and integrity. It is both gripping and moving. Ardé has done a sterling job.”

The Sugar Farmer’s Son is available online via Kindle and hard copies are available at Adams bookstores, at Ike’s in Greyville; and Shauna Neill Design, Shop 10 in Flanders Mall. It is also available to order via Bridge Books, email