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Trump nominates handbag designer as envoy to South Africa

November 15, 2018

FILE - In this 2012 file photo, Lana Marks and her husband, Dr. Neville Marks, are shown at the 2012 Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County, Inc. Bell Society Dinner at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. President Donald Trump has nominated Lana Marks, a South Florida-based luxury fashion and handbag designer, to be the new U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Marks is a native South African who speaks Xhosa and Afrikaans. The White House announced her nomination late Wednesday. (Meghan McCarthy/Palm Beach Post via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has nominated a South Florida-based luxury fashion and handbag designer to be the new U.S. ambassador to South Africa.

The White House announced the nomination of native South African Lana Marks late Wednesday.

Marks was born and raised in South Africa and is now the CEO of the Lana Marks Collections design firm which caters to celebrities. She speaks Xhosa and Afrikaans and lives in Palm Beach, Florida.

There has been no U.S. ambassador to South Africa since Trump’s election. The extended vacancy had led to criticism that the Trump administration was less committed to the U.S.-South Africa relationship than previous ones.

Ambassadorial candidates from the private sector are not uncommon for the U.S. government and account for about 30 percent of envoys across administrations.

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