How a mixed-race love affair between an African prince and an Englishwoman caused an international furore

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-12-16 21:28Z by Steven

How a mixed-race love affair between an African prince and an Englishwoman caused an international furore

The Daily Telegraph
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Marea Donnelly, History writer

Ruth Williams and her husband Prince Seretse Khama in London in 1949.

ONE can only surmise as to whether bank clerk Ruth Williams and her Bechuanaland prince Seretse Khama ever shuffled around the dance floor to The Ink Spots’ hit Prisoner Of Love. United in their affection for the harmonising American doo-wop band, within a year of their meeting at a post-war London dance hall the Ink Spots’ 1946 hit could have been their anthem.

Their black-white romance offended not only their families, but the British and South African governments and the Church of England, which all aggressively opposed their 1948 marriage. Already the subject of a book A Marriage Of Inconvenience, and a film of the same name released in 1990, a new British film about the Khama marriage, A United Kingdom, opens in Sydney on Boxing Day

Read the entire article here.

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A United Kingdom: Love In The Time Of The British Empire

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-11-30 20:40Z by Steven

A United Kingdom: Love In The Time Of The British Empire

Media Diversified

Shane Thomas

Once the year in film began with #OscarsSoWhite, was it coincidence that 2016 is closing – and 2017 beginning – with a raft of movies featuring people of colour? We have Hidden Figures, Lion, Fences, and the magnificent Moonlight to come. We recently had the release of Queen of Katwe, and last Friday saw A United Kingdom, Amma Asante’s follow-up to Belle, appear in cinemas.

The story focuses around the true-life romance between Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams (played by David Oyelewo and Rosamund Pike). Seretse, who is studying in London in 1947, meets and falls in love with Ruth while in England. Normally this would set the table for a garden variety rom-com. But there’s no chance of any “com”, due to the complications the relationship brings. Seretse is the dauphin to the throne of Bechuanaland (a place under British control, before it was known as Botswana), and he is black, while Ruth is white…

Read the entire review here.

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The love story that shocked the world

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-09-14 13:29Z by Steven

The love story that shocked the world

BBC News

When an African prince and a white middle-class clerk from Lloyd’s underwriters got married in 1948, it provoked shock in Britain and Africa.

Seretse Khama met Ruth Williams while he was a student at Oxford University. After his studies, he was supposed to go home to the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and marry someone from his own tribe, but his romance with Williams changed everything.

His family disapproved and Khama was forced to renounce his claim to the throne. The British government came under pressure to show its disapproval and Khama was exiled from his homeland.

He later became the first president of Botswana when it became an independent country.

Witness spoke to Ruth Williams’s sister about the love that conquered prejudice.

Watch the interview here.

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Mixed Race Britain – How The World Got Mixed Up

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States, Videos on 2011-09-06 02:35Z by Steven

Mixed Race Britain – How The World Got Mixed Up

BBC Press Office: Press Packs

Ruth Williams, Seretse Khama and family

This one-off documentary explores the historical and contemporary social, sexual and political attitudes to race mixing.

Throughout modern history, interracial sex has been one of society’s great taboos, and across many parts of the world, mixed race relationships have been subjected to a range of deterrents. Mixed couples have endured shame, stigma and persecution and many have risked the threat of ostracism from their friends and families.

In several parts of the world, including South Africa during the apartheid era, governments introduced legislation to prohibit race mixing. Laws against race mixing were still in force in 16 American states until they were declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court’s verdict in the Loving v Virginia case of 1967.

Yet despite the social and legal constraints–and the even more violent extra-judicial attempts to discourage race mixing organised by extreme nationalist groups like the Ku Klux Klan–interracial relationships have been an ever-present feature of societies throughout modern times.

Through the stories of interracial relationships which created scandals in their own time–including the liaisons between the East India Company’s James Achilles Kirkpatrick and the Muslim princess Khair un-Nissa at the beginning of the 19th Century, and the romance of the Botswanan royal Seretse Khama and the middle-class British girl Ruth Williams in the years after the Second World War–the film examines the complex history of interracial relationships and chronicles the shifts in attitudes that for centuries have created controversy and anxiety all around the world.

Contributors to this film include the former Labour Cabinet minister Tony Benn; who founded the Seretse Khama Defence Council; and the esteemed moral philosopher Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, whose mother Peggy Cripps–the daughter of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps married his father, the Ghanaian political activist Joe Appiah in 1953.

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