Prince George’s County Delegation on Business Mission to South Africa – NBC4 Washington
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is on a seven-day business mission to South Africa, leading a delegation of 36 business and civic leaders to visit the county’s sister city, the Bafokeng Nation.
Former Prince George’s County Council member Dorothy Bailey met the former King of the Bafokeng Nation in the 1980s and encouraged County Executive Wayne Curry to make the sister city relationship official.
“Even though there were differences, there were so many similarities that reminded me of Prince George’s County,” she said.
Some call it the original Wakanda because of its wealth and resources.
“I think that they knew that they were people of means and they worked to maintain that, and it’s kind of like Prince George’s County, in a sense,” Bailey said.
Known as the platinum kings, the nation bought its land back from its colonizers in the early 1900s. Later they discovered the land was filled with platinum, and now it’s the richest tribe in Africa, worth an estimated $4 billion.
“We saw them work and emerge, fight apartheid,” Bailey said.
The former king and two of his sons died under what some in the nation considered mysterious circumstances as the nation was in a legal battle to retain royalties from its platinum mines.
The youngest son and current king was inaugurated 20 years ago. Alsobrooks was there on a trip as education liaison for the county.
“Long before I came into public office myself, but I remember this young king and the tremendous sacrifice that he was making, having watched his father and two brothers who died before him, and he was ascending to this throne,” Alsobrooks said.
The Bafokeng has also learned a lot from the county, including the design of FedEx field, which they saw being built under the Curry administration.
“They were so brilliant that they were able to draw what they saw and they built a stadium very similar to FedEx Field,” Alsobrooks said.
This is the county executive’s first international trip since taking office. More than a cultural exchange, she said it’s an opportunity to market Prince George’s County to South Africa.
“In business, growing our economy, that’s what we hope to do, and the only way to do that, really, is to go out and market the county,” she said.
Prince George’s County Council Chair Calvin Hawkins, schools CEO Monica Goldson and some of the county executive’s staff are among those on the trip, which will cost taxpayers an estimated $40,000. Business leaders who are attending paid for themselves, according to county spokespeople.
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