A United Kingdom, a movie which documents the life of the founding president of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama is certainly not short of spectacle as it shows how the then Kgosi was disowned by his own for merely getting married to someone of a different skin colour. The movie depicts Khama’s life in London where he was studied and ultimately fell in love with a Brit, Ruth Williams. Not only was the two’s union opposed by the woman’s family, but the entire white community while at home in Botswana, the young Seretse’s ascendance to the chieftainship was delayed as his uncle, Tshekedi opposed the marriage to a white woman. The movie, which will be officially playing in cinemas next Friday, is a testament of how the world used to be divided on racial lines to an extent that marriage between different races sparked outrage across the world.
A United Kingdom, as the movie is called, is being released in the year that Botswana is celebrating its 50 years as an independent state. While it will be aired in other regions as early as next week, it will only be shown in the USA next year around February. Even though the more than two hours long film features some local actors, producers of it have been criticised for overlooking local talent in favour of foreign artists. The featured local actors were deployed to supporting roles. This, however, did not in way affect the depicting of the story. While many opposed the Seretse/Ruth romance, the Morafe stood by them and during a referendum at which the public was to vote for or against Seretse’s installation as Bangwato paramount through show of hands, his uncle was left disappointed when the public showed confidence by voting for Seretse’s installation.
He was to later be banished back to London under the pretense that he was to attend a meeting with officials in the UK, only to be told that he has been put in exile upon his arrival. The movie then goes on to show how Seretse played a critical role in ensuring that any mineral resources found in the country should benefit the citizens of Botswana, which in the film is shown as a desert with only few structural developments here and there. At the end Seretse and his uncle smoke the peace pipe and he returned to Botswana to carry his duties as a chief and would later be the founding president of the country.