Ernst Eriksen was born in Norway on 6 April 1893. The youngest son of a Lutheran Missionary he grew up in Quambonambi in Natal. After completing his schooling, he entered the sugar business with his eldest brother. They called their company Eriksen Brothers - a name well known today in sugar circles.
When the first World War broke out, Ernst joined the Second South African Horse Regiment. He was amongst a contingent sent over to Britain. It was here that he met Ethel, his future wife.
They were married in 1919 and settled in Natal. During this time their son Ernst Ronald and daughter Joyce Turner were born.
Ernst was fascinated by motor cars and moved his family to Johannesburg to become managing director of a motor firm. He established Eriksen Motors in 1935, and listed on the Stock Exchange in 1946. Eriksen Motors flourished and established many branches all over South Africa. The company was sold to the Barlows Group in 1984.
The Eriksens were a public-spirited family who played an active part in community affairs. Ernst was a congenial, outgoing man who loved to entertain. Ethel became an accomplised gardener and raised money for many worthwhile causes through the sale of her flowers.
Ethel Eriksen survived her husband by 14 years and passed away at the age of 84 in 1981.
Prior to her death she donated a sum of money for a Post Graduate Study Grant to be known as the Ernst & Ethel Eriksen Trust.
The trust has for more than twenty years, enabled scholars from all walks if life to fulfill their dreams, and in so doing, to benefit South Africa. It is a fitting memorial to a truly remarkable couple.