‘Scandalous’ love story of Botswana’s Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams to be told in film

2016-02-03 16:30 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - Their only crime was falling madly in love. Yet Prince Seretse Khama, the heir to the throne of Botswana at the time (in the 1940s), and his young, white, English wife Ruth Williams was exiled from Bechuanaland, the modern-day Botswana, for six years. 

Their love story is not one that has been proudly told in SA, as our then racist government vehemently opposed the union and bullied Britain’s ruling Labour party in Bechuanaland into exiling the royal couple from the country in 1951.

But times have changed, and in 2016 we look forward to a film celebrating this love story which played off on African soil. 

A photo posted by Amma Asante (@iammaasante) on

The film, titled A United Kingdom, the role of Seretse Khama will be played by Selma star David Oyelowo.

Entertainment Weekly says the film cast is apt, as Oyelowo’s life and relationship echoes that of the late Seretse’s; he also is from his own royal family in Nigeria and is married to white actress Jessica Oyelowo. 

Rosamund Pike from Gone Girl fame will play the role of Ruth, who in real life went on to be the first lady of Botswana between 1966 and 1980. 

EW describes the film as the "greatest love story you’ve never heard of". 

Shooting would be split between Botswana and London, and was set to start in October last year in preparation for a 2016 release. The release of A United Kingdom is set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of independence in Botswana, Daily Mail reports.

Oyelowo told EW that Botswana as we know it today is a different country for the fact that Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams got married. "It has a different relationship to race, partly because of them. That in and of itself is miraculous.” 

The film will no-doubt move romantics to visit Botswana, one of SA's incredible bordering countries. 

Over the past year, Botswana has caused an uproar with travellers from all over and is fast becoming a must-see destination in Africa. 

Visiting Botswana? Check out these:

Botswana named Lonely Planet's Best Travel Destinations for 2016

NatGeo Top 20 Destinations for 2016

45 Practical tips for South Africans planning their first 4x4 Botswana trip

Border Crossing into Botswana – everything you need to know

Botswana’s Chobe: Of hippos, elephants and lion hunts

Take a look at some shots from A United Kingdom's filming in London: 

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