A piece of untold history, beautifully presented by Director Amma Asante.
In 1947, Seretse Khama, the King of Bechuanaland (David Oyelowo) fell in love with Ruth Williams, a white office worker (Rosamund Pike). In the film, the chemistry is undeniable, but their respective families, along with the British and South African governments, challenge the union.
On the brink of launching apartheid, South Africa could not accept the idea of a mixed-race couple ruling the country to the north. The British feared they would be denied access to South Africa uranium and gold. And the risk of a South African invasion of Bechuanaland was a very real threat.
Despite the daunting opposition and scandalous headlines, Seretse and Ruth marry and travel to Bechuanaland. There, they encounter opposition from Seretse’s uncle and other members of the tribe who struggle to accept a white queen. “Do not belittle your kingdom,” warns the uncle. A skeptical woman asks Ruth: “Do you understand what ‘Mother of our Nation’ means?”
David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike deliver Oscar-worthy performances. Oyelowo’s oratorical skills command our attention, while Pike captures the essence of a woman who is confident in her love and commitment, despite the insurmountable odds.
It is not surprising that Nelson Mandela once described the legacy of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams as “a shining beacon of light and inspiration.”
A must-see film that has relevance in our contemporary world.
Note: Bechuanaland is now Botswana.