Handbag designer Marks appointed U.S. ambassador to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Luxury handbag designer Lana Marks has been appointed U.S. ambassador to South Africa, the U.S. embassy said on Friday.

Marks was born in South Africa and speaks Afrikaans and Xhosa, the White House has said. The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination, which President Donald Trump put forward last year.

Washington has had no ambassador in South Africa since Patrick Gaspard left in December 2016, with its mission being overseen by a chargé d’affaires.

The website for Marks’ firm offers handbags for up to $20,000 and says they have become favorites for celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet and Madonna.

Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; editing by John Stonestreet