While the Botswana Tourism Board and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency movie production stable Weinstein Company Inc / Mirage Productions UK were getting ready for a special screening for invited guests, who consisted of UK’s top Tour Operators and other strategic partners at the British Film Institute’s Southbank Auditorium in London, Survival International (SI) had posted on their website disapproval of the movie and its author’s portrayal of Batswana.
SI’s director, Stephen Corry, says, “McCall Smith’s books portray Botswana in a very rosy light, but the reality for the Bushmen is very different. Their experience is one of repression, bullying and persecution by a government which seems determined not to let them go home, despite what their courts say.”
SI, which declares to be the only international organization supporting tribal peoples, invited its members to turn up to protest the movie premier at the BFI posing a security challenge. SI also states, “Botswana’s tourism authorities are hoping that the film will encourage a friendly and peaceful image of the country.”
In addition they also said, “The Botswana Tourism Board, whose chief executive has said that it will ‘provide a platform to promote Botswana diamonds and restore the image tarnished by the CKGR issue’, is heavily promoting it. Hundreds of Bushmen have been relocated from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).”
Meanwhile, the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency film, otherwise known as the Mma Ramotswe Film, is scheduled for airing on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) One, UK, on Easter Monday, March 24th 2008. This follows another premier hosted by the BBC for the international media/press on Tuesday 18th March 2008. The Botswana premier is scheduled for some time in April 2008.