The 2016 film, A United Kingdom represented a twisted tale of two individuals, with different circumstances, who were fated not be together.
The roles were played well and acted superbly. Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams, was a typing clerk in London, and was instantly attracted to David Oyelowo, who played Seretse Khama; a London law student, come air to the Botswana Throne.
She was instantly intrigued by him with his passionate speech about equality, at the missionary ball. They danced the night away and kept in contact, secretly meeting to avoid Ruth’s father finding out. Her father, as a British stereotypical individual, would not approve of her relationship with Seretse.
Ruth’s father was not the only individual against their relationship. While walking back, they were both racially abused and Ruth is hit in the process, despite his protection.
Ruth had been aware of the black and white divide, but not to its full extent. She had to decide between two sides:
Her family and their approval or Seretse and the chance of real change and racial criticism?
Ruth followed her heart and as a result lost faith and support from her family.
He knew that the integration of black and white would cause conflict in his tribe, and between his uncle, who valued tradition that has been followed for the last four kings.
Their struggle was forged from traditional and racist views. The British Government and their smug representatives were adamant to challenge their relationship and his uncle conspired against them. Their eligibility of their marriage and the throne were investigated and measures were put in place to Isolate Ruth, to make her question her choices.
Ruth and Seretse moved to Botswana Land and he stood in front of the tribe. He delivered a speech that was not only captivating and passionate but was also so convincing that the tribe were won over in his eligibility to be king. This speech gave me shivers down my spine and I felt every word and emotion!
Her move to Botswana land had been different from what she had expected, with the tribe judging and not respecting her, because of her skin colour. The idea of a black king and white queen was not yet established in their tradition.
Further attempts were made to break their relationship when they were both called to London. Ruth refused to go, and as a result she was separated from Seretse who was informed that he was banned from visiting his home country for five years. He was offered an admin position in Jamaica, but he refuses.
They were told that they were NOT FIT TO RULE and tried to get support from the British people. Churchill showed his support and stated that he would terminate the banishment if he won the election, but his win backfired and he extended the banishment to life.
This moment was heart-breaking; when he thought that he had some British support, his luck backfired. His ability to support his pregnant wife, Ruth was now lower and she was starting to struggle.
Ruth tried to put her worries aside and make an inspirational speech to rebel against her husband’s life banishment. She was strong for the tribe, but she knew that she had not seen Seretse for a long time. She made her way to London to see him, after a surprise song by the locals. She had finally got their respect!
After reuniting Seretse with her child, they decided to write a letter to his uncle, asking if they could meet and discuss the conflict between them. Sereste asked permission from the representative to travel to Botswana Land.
They presented evidence to him, including the Horrigan report, indicating that he was eligible to be king and that Ruth was eligible to be queen. They made an agreement with him, that he could rule with Ruth, and had word in parliament that any minerals found on their land was theirs and could not be mined without their permission.
At the end of all the dramatic events, they returned to Botswana Land and ruled until they declared their independence in 1966, when they could truly be free and not dictated by the British Government.
You can view the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=url66-67O90 .
The film was deeply moving and I felt a sense of pride after it. The way they handled criticism, and held on to what they had, was inspiring. Their determination to do the best for Botswana Land, despite its struggle, is something we can do in our daily lives.
The film is still available to see in selected Vue, Odeon and Empire Cinemas, as well as the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.
I would highly recommend seeing this equally romantic and inspiring film.
Bye for now