20 Years: A Legacy
County Executive Baker Visits the Royal Bafokeng Nation
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, recently returned from a week-long trip to South Africa to visit Prince George’s sister jurisdiction, The Royal Bafokeng Nation. The relationship between Prince George’s County and the Royal Bafokeng Nation began following the fall of South African Apartheid during County Executive Wayne K. Curry’s Administration over 20 years ago. The Royal Bafokeng Nation is the ethnic homeland of the Bafokeng people, a Setswana-speaking traditional community in North West Province of South Africa.
“For over twenty years, Prince George’s County has had a special sister-county relationship with the Royal Bafokeng Nation of South Africa,” says Baker. “It was an honor to be hosted by King Leruo Molotlegi and to learn about the Bafokeng Nation’s best practices of governance while sharing the successes of my administration over the past eight years. The King and I have a shared interest and passion in educating our youth and I loved touring one of their college campuses. Every Prince Georgian should learn about this special place, its people, its history, and their relationship to our county should always be a revered bond.”
Representatives from the Royal Bafokeng Nation, including King Molotlegi, have been to the county several times during the Baker Administration, specifically to visit numerous Prince George’s County Public Schools and learn about our education efforts. Out of due respect for the sister-county relationship, Baker wanted to visit the Royal Bafokeng Nation before departing office on December 3.
This is County Executive Baker’s ninth international trip. Previously County Executive Baker accompanied Governor O’Malley on trade and investment missions to India (2011) and Brazil (2012). County Executive Baker traveled twice to China (2014 and 2015), and once to Cuba (2016) and Korea (2017). He has also traveled twice to Okinawa, Japan to give commencement addresses for military graduates of the University of Maryland University College.
Additional details and highlights of the trip:
An official meeting was held with the new Chancellor of Witwatersrand University, in Johannesburg. The Chancellor recently visited Prince George’s County early in the year and there is a growing relationship between Witwatersrand University and the University of Maryland. Prince George’s County has committed to helping the Witwatersrand University attract participants and input as it builds its new African Center for the Study of the United States.
The Royal Bafokeng Nation has developed proprietary technology that they use to manage projects and to keep its constituents informed.
A visit to the Lebone School represented the King and County Executive’s joint interest in advancing education. In addition, information from their visit to an arts and culture area could serve as an adaptive model to work in Prince George’s County.