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Nikita Pearl Waligwa, ‘Queen of Katwe’ Actor, Dies At 15

Nebianet Usaini  
Updated February 17, 2020
Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. Photo: Disney
Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. Photo: Disney

 

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, the young Ugandan newcomer who starred in Disney’s movie about a Ugandan chess prodigy, Queen of Katwe, has died of brain tumour, according to Gayaza High School.

Waligwa was in her senior year at Gayaza High School at the time of her death.

According to the BBC and Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor, she was 15.


Waligwa, who played the role of Gloria, a younger friend of the main character in the 2016 Disney film, was “a darling to many”, the secondary school wrote on Twitter.

“No words can explain the pain at the moment,” it added.

Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and seemed to recover a year later. 

However, in 2019, another tumor was found. 

‘Queen of Katwe’ director Mira Nair helped organize efforts to fund Waligwa’s treatment during filming, according to the BBC.

The film told the real-life story of Mutesi who is one of Uganda’s most successful chess players. She won three Ugandan Women’s Junior Championship and has represented the country at four international chess olympiads.

Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo also starred in the film. They played Mutesi’s mother and chess teacher.

“The small one can become the big one,” is one of Gloria’s memorable quotes from the movie.












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