Fiche Film
MOYEN Métrage | 1949
Chisoko the African
Donald Swanson
Pays concerné : Royaume-Uni
Réalisateur(s) : Donald Swanson
Durée : 36
Genre : portrait
Type : documentaire


Le portrait d’un homme politique hors du commun : Seretse Khama, le premier président du Botswana. Né en 1921, sous la domination britannique, Seretse Khama est l’héritier d’une tribu royale vivant dans le désert du Kalahari. Parti faire ses études en Angleterre, il y épouse Ruth Williams, une Anglaise. Ce mariage mixte est condamné par les autorités britanniques et Seretse Khama est mis au ban de sa tribu. Après six ans d’exil, il rentre au pays et y fonde le Parti démocratique du Botswana, le BDP. En 1966, il devient premier ministre puis premier président du Botswana indépendant. Jusqu’à la fin de sa vie, en 1980, il tient le pari de faire de son pays un modèle de succès économique et de démocratie. Premier film produit au Botswana, ce documentaire entend rendre hommage à la clairvoyance politique de Seretse Khama et à son combat incessant afin de maintenir l’indépendance économique de son pays, au sein d’une région gangrenée par la ségrégation raciale et l’apartheid.

Réalisateur : Donald Swanson

Pays de production : Grande Bretagne
Lieux de tournage : Rhodésie du Nord


The story of an African boy born in a village in Northern Rhodesia that is revolutionised by the growth of the Copperbelt industry.

The commentator introduces the story over a map, with the title’Northern Rhodesia 1902′.’At the time’, he states,’I was a District Commissioner in Northern Rhodesia. That was how I got mixed up with the discovery of copper there and saw the effect it had on the African’. The commentator talks over scenes of traditional African village life, outlining the’primitive manner’ in which they lived. The film’s narrative begins with the birth of a baby, Chisoko, to the chief’s daughter. The baby’s father was the only local not present as he was out hunting with an English prospector,’a fellow named Collier’. During their trip William Collier shot an antelope and on inspecting the creature discovered copper nearby. He marked the spot, staked his claim and paid Chisoko’s father a sovereign, which he buried.

Collier’s claim was seemingly forgotten until twenty years later when a couple of prospectors visited the chief. He asked Chisoko – who was’hankering for some way out of their monotonous, endless existence’ – to take them to Collier’s spot. They discovered’copper on a grand scale’ and there began a process of developing the industry in the area.’Every day’, the commentator states,’the primitive talents, adapted and developed by experienced white men, were being put to good use’.

Chisoko was disappointed however to see that nothing had changed within his own village, and after gambling his earnings and getting into a fight, his father had to pay off his debt with the sovereign that he had buried years earlier. A chastened Chisoko now goes to work in the mines. After being examined by a British doctor, Chisoko embarks on a tour of the mining camp, which the commentator labels a’complete revelation’. The work and life in the mines is shown next, as Chisoko undergoes training and begins working with machinery underground. A happy Chisoko now returns once more to his village with his pregnant wife. After arguing with his father over the best place to have his baby, Chisoko’s son’was born in a white man’s hospital’. The commentary claims that this incident’summed up the whole story’.’Copper had brought to these primitive places more than a great industry’, it concludes,’It had brought in the heart of a man the final break with a barbaric time, and the certain hope of an enlightened future’.

Year: 1949
Running Time: 36 minutes
Film Gauge (Format): 16mm Film
Colour: Black/White
Sound: Sound
Footage: 3264 ft

Production Country: Great Britain

Director: SWANSON, Donald
Sponsor: Nchanga Consolidated
Sponsor: Rhokana Corp
Sponsor: Roan Antelope Copper Mines

Assistant Director: MIDDLEMAS, David
Associate Producer: GOODWIN, Harold
Editor: RANDELL, Cyril
narrator: SUMNER, Geoffrey
Photography: SHEARS, R.M.
Production Company: Gaumont-British Instructional
Production Manager: LYNDON-HAYNES, V.B.
Script Supervisor: SWANSON, Gene
Sound: BIRCH, A.F.
Story: CHARTER, John

Country : Northern Rhodesia

Themes : Empire and Industry

Genres: Industrial Films

Production Organisation : Gaumont British Instructional