Donald Trump has reportedly picked Lana Marks - a luxury handbag designer from Palm Beach, Florida - as the next US ambassador to South Africa. pic.twitter.com/FoWhklcTYn— Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) October 3, 2018
President Donald Trump has reportedly chosen a luxury handbag designer from Palm Beach, Florida, as the next ambassador to South Africa.
Lana Marks designs luxury handbags that range from $10,000 to $400,000. Although she was born in South Africa, interestingly, she hasn’t lived in the country for more than 40 years.
And yet, the president chose her to fill in the position.
Marks was born in South Africa’s coastal city of East London and was educated in local educational institutions. She later went to Bermuda and then eventually settled in Palm Beach in 1987 where she established her luxury business.
As her company website stated, she has now become, “synonymous with the most luxurious, fashion forward handbags in the world, crafted from such exotic leathers as alligator, crocodile, ostrich and lizard.”
The fact that she has not lived in South Africa since a long time, considering the nature of her business and her zero political record makes it very clear that she doesn’t have a fair idea of the complexity of the situation.
Her confirmation as the ambassador will now be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The post of the ambassador to South Africa has been vacant since 2016 after former ambassador, Patrick Gaspard, resigned. Now, Trump’s nominee is all set to fill in the position.
Trump’s choice for an ambassador to South Africa comes at a crucial time as relations between the two countries remain tense.
Relations became unpleasant when the president cited a Fox News segment by anchor Tucker Carlson that discussed land seizures and murders. In the segment, the Fox News firebrand said the “South African government is now seizing land from white farmers.”
Trump, of course, picked up the “news” and took to Twitter where he said he has instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “close study” the matter.
The theory by Carlson was later debunked.
The anchor’s segment and Trump’s response fuel claims by white supremacists groups that imply the South African government of waging a war on white farmers.
Moreover, the killings Trump referred to are at a 20-year-low. In 2016, 60 white farmers were killed and the number went down to 47 in the year 2017-18.
The South African government also denounced the commander-in-chief’s baseless accusations. The official Twitter account for the South African government shared some posts of its own to counter the American president's divisive rhetoric.
The former United States ambassador, Gaspard, also jumped into the fray to reject Trump's remarks.
“The president of the U.S. needs political distractions to turn our gaze away from his criminal cabal, and so he's attacking South Africa with the disproven racial myth of 'large scale killings of farmers,'" Gaspard tweeted. "This man has never visited the continent and has no discernible Africa policy."
The POTUS also said several harsh words for African countries as he reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a closed meeting on immigration.
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