Queen comes courting Royal: Semane Molotlegi of the 300,000-member Bafokeng Nation of South Africa visited Baltimore to learn how health care is delivered to the needy.


The queen mother of Bafokeng nation, a South Africa-based tribe, toured the South Baltimore Family Health Center yesterday, and Earl Green, 8, was unimpressed.

"She is nice, but I thought she would look like a queen or a queen's mom," said Earl of East Baltimore, who accompanied his mother to the clinic in Cherry Hill. "Where is her crown?"

Despite regal bearing, Semane Molotlegi wore a simple black blouse, black skirt and open-toed sandals as she visited the city yesterday as part of a monthlong trip to the United States. Her wardrobe contrasted significantly with the traditional African garb favored by several of the Baltimoreans who greeted her.

Molotlegi (pronounced Mo-lo-clare-gi) traveled to Atlanta with South Africa's Olympic athletes a month ago and has visited California, Washington and Maryland.

Her trip to Baltimore, which included a reception at Health Care for the Homeless on Park Avenue, offered her a chance to see "how your country provides health care to the less fortunate," she said.

Molotlegi's husband, Kgosi Lebone Molotlegi, died last year after 36 years as paramount chief of the Bafokeng. A fierce antagonist of the local apartheid-backed government, he spent much of that time in exile.

His son, Lebone Molotlegi II -- who studied communication and film production at Howard University, according to published reports -- is the latest member of a ruling dynasty that extends back two centuries.

The kingdom consists of about 300,000 people over a 574-square-mile area about 75 miles northwest of Johannesburg.

Pub Date: 8/06/96

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