Young Ugandan who starred in a Disney chess film dies at 15

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan student who played a memorable role in a 2016 Disney film about a local chess prodigy has died at the age of 15.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa died on Saturday at a hospital near the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The cause was a brain tumor, according to the girls’ secondary school she had attended since 2018.

She was “a darling to many,” Gayaza High School said on Twitter.

Local media reported that Waligwa had been in and out of hospital with a recurring brain tumor and had previously received treatment, including surgery, in India.

Tributes were coming in for her on social media as Ugandans expressed sadness and recalled her role in the 2016 movie directed by Mira Nair and filmed in Kampala.

“Queen of Katwe” follows the rise of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi as a chess player amid grinding poverty in the Kampala slum of Katwe, with her single mother barely able to support her and her two siblings. Mutesi falls under the spell of an unassuming chess teacher who encourages the teenager to learn the game despite the skepticism of her mother, who warns her not to dream big because “you will be disappointed.”

The film was received favorably in Uganda, where young people with no acting experience shared the limelight with stars like Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. One of those Ugandans was Waligwa, rl who pedays Gloria, a chess player younger than Phiona who memorablyid in yhe movie ts that in the game of chess “the small one can become the big one.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Bismarck Representatives

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bismarck Representatives"

Bismarck Capitals Baseball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bismarck Capitals Baseball"

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

Thumbnail for the video titled "Thursday, July 9th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder"

MHA Nation Voting

Thumbnail for the video titled "MHA Nation Voting"

911 Addresses

Thumbnail for the video titled "911 Addresses"

ERG Breakdown

Thumbnail for the video titled "ERG Breakdown"

AARC Help

Thumbnail for the video titled "AARC Help"

Ag Field Days

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ag Field Days"

Daycare Reopening

Thumbnail for the video titled "Daycare Reopening"

Beet Bucks

Thumbnail for the video titled "Beet Bucks"

Souris Valley Sabre Dogs

Thumbnail for the video titled "Souris Valley Sabre Dogs"

Big Boy Changes

Thumbnail for the video titled "Big Boy Changes"

BisMarket for Kids

Thumbnail for the video titled "BisMarket for Kids"

Velva Bridge

Thumbnail for the video titled "Velva Bridge"

Garrison PD Staffing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Garrison PD Staffing"

Tioga Plant

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tioga Plant"

Amber's Thursday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 7/9

Thumbnail for the video titled "Amber's Thursday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 7/9"

NDC JULY 9

Thumbnail for the video titled "NDC JULY 9"

Thursday's Forecast: Sunny & cooler with storm chances tomorrow

Thumbnail for the video titled "Thursday's Forecast: Sunny & cooler with storm chances tomorrow"

Mandan Flower Project

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mandan Flower Project"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss