Ruth met Sir Seretse Khama, Prince Seretse Khama during her studies in London. Her sister brought her to a dance, which she was reluctant to attend.  The two lovebirds were introduced to each other, both sharing an interest in jazz, they fell in love.  Ruth, an Englishwomen, and Seretse, a prince from Botswana, got married September of 1948.  Many people opposed their marriage, including Seretse’s father.  Ruth found herself thrown out of the family home.  Seretse’s uncle even threatened to fight Seretse to the death if he brought Ruth home as his wife.  The couple also had trouble finding a landlord that would allow interracial couples on their property.  In 1950, Sir Seretse was brought under false pretenses to London, here the Khama’s were exiled for five years. Although exiled, Seretse was able to serve on the African Advisory Council, Ngwato Tribal council, and Joint Advisory Council, in Botswana.  Seretse’s potion allowed him to speak out against racism.

The exile ended in 1956, with the condition that Seretse would not become king.  Once the Khama’s retuned to Botswana, Seretse and his uncle put aside their differences and decided to work together for the good of Botswana people. In 1966, Prince Seretse Khama became Botswana’s first President, making Ruth First Lady.  The couple didn’t stop facing problems because interracial marriages were banned in South Africa.  During his presidency, Seretse Khama campaigned his ideal of multiracial democracy. Ruth invested her time with volunteer work, helping women and children.

In 1966, Botswana was the third-poorest country in the world.  Through the hard work of this interracial couple, Botswana became the fastest-growing economy in the world from the 1960’s to the 1980s. This power couple transformed a nation!

In 2016, the movie United Kingdom was released in theaters.  It tells the miraculous story of the Khama’s and their perseverance through times of discrimination.  I personally think it is amazing to have this passionate interracial couple’s story on the big screen.  There is so much is to be told and I’m glad the movie can spread the word.

The Khama’s perseverance has done much for the multiracial community.  Having their incredible commitment to the Botswana government even furthered their impact worldwide. Despite the Khama’s adversity, their love trumped all the racism they endured and together they changed the world.

Madelyn Rempel

Project RACE Kids President


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