Russell Simmons Lands In South Africa, Issues Statement

Hip-Hop mogul Russell

Simmons landed in South Africa today (Nov. 27) on a fact-finding mission to learn

how the diamond industry can positively affect the lives of black Africans living

amongst high poverty, HIV and lack of quality education.Simmons

will visit Botswana and South Africa during the fact-finding mission to learn

more about the diamond trade. Today,

the 49-year-old mogul visited the Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana."I

am here because the most important and powerful Muslim preacher and the most important

and powerful Jewish Rabbi I have met in my lifetime – The Honorable Minister Louis

Farrakhan and Rabbi Marc Schnier – both, individually, told me to come here,"

Simmons told AllHipHop.com in a statement. "I am sending this out because

I sincerely believe that the more people I can mobilize to support this mission,

the greater chance we’ll have to help improve the quality of life of more

of the African people. The more people talk about this mission, the more I can

serve humanity. Further, I believe that I am protected by the One God that protects

all of humanity."Simmons

was supposed to embark on the nine-day trek with supermodel/tsunami survivor Petra

Nemcova, who stayed behind. The

Czech model and girlfriend of singer James Blunt, became the subject of media gossip,

which claimed she and Simmons were getting close after the pair were spotted leaving

two New York night clubs together, hand-in-hand. Simmons,

who is separated from his wife Kimora Lee, said he and Nemcova were just friends.

Nemcova

also denied the rumors in US Weekly saying: "There is nothing truthful

about it. I am with James, happy and in love.""I

have heard from Ken Sunshine directly (Petra Nemcova and Leonardo DiCaprio’s

publicist) that Petra is worried about the political and, possible, business ramifications

of this trip and that she is awaiting her advisers to respond to decide whether

she can join me on this trip," Simmons said. "I know her presence as

a celebrity and the chairman of her Happy Hearts foundation will give added attention

to this mission, which is much needed to make it a success."Footage

of Simmons landing in South Africa will posted on Youtube.com on Nov. 30.

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