Dr Neville Marks and Lana Marks, who has been appointed US ambassador to South Africa. Picture: AP

Johannesburg - Luxury handbag designer Lana Marks has been appointed US ambassador to South Africa, the US embassy said on Friday.

Marks was born in South Africa and now lives in Palm Beach, Florida. She speaks Afrikaans and Xhosa, the White House has said. The US 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 favourites for celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet and Madonna.

Her husband is a psychiatrist.

Reuters