True story about the interracial couple who meet and fall in love in England in the 1950s. He’s an African tribal leader from what used to be called Bechuanaland but is now Botswana. Against opposition from both their families, the British government and their wider communities, they marry and she accompanies him back to his homeland where he takes up his destiny as the country’s new ruler.
Having been to Botswana a couple of years ago, I was very interested to read in the end credits that the central male character ended up talking his people into forsaking their chiefdom and taking on democracy. He was the hereditary chief, but he ended up being the first Prime Minister, and his son (or grandson?) is now in that office.
Botswana is a nice little democracy that seems to have avoided the worst of the scourges that afflict so many other African countries: tribalism, war, drugs, dire poverty. It helps perhaps to have had a leader who was educated in Britain in humanitarian enlightenment values, and who took his people along with him in the democracy project. Oh yes, the Brits engaged in a certain amount of skulduggery from time to time, trying to thwart him, but it’s interesting that Bechuanaland (as it then was) was never a British colony; in fact, it had been a British protectorate – at the request of the local people – since the 19th century, so there was no bitter legacy of colonialism. I loved this movie. It might have been a bit pedestrian in direction and storytelling, but what an uplifting story! Four stars from me.