Nikita Pearl Waligwa, a Ugandan actress who starred in ‘Queen of Katwe’, Disney’s biographical drama film, is dead at 15.


The teenage actress was said to have passed away on Saturday at the TMR International Hospital, in Naalya, Kampala, after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

According to BBC, she had the first tumor in 2016 but Mira Nair, the director of the ‘Queen of Katwe’ movie, mobilized people to fund her treatment in India.

This was said to have followed after Ugandan doctors reportedly said they lacked the necessary medical equipment to carry out the surgery.


While she later recovered following the successful execution of the procedure, Nikita later suffered a relapse in 2019, after receiving medical clearance for the ailment back in 2017.


In ‘Queen of Katwe’, Nikita had played the role of Gloria, a friend of Phiona Mutesi, who happened to have explained the rules of chess to the young actress.

One instruction she gave her friend was: “In chess, the small one can become the big one”.

Mutesi had gone ahead to compete in international tournaments after taking up the game at the age of nine, despite not being in school.

The 2016 film, which starred Lupita Nyong’o as Nikita’s mother and David Oyelowo as her chess teacher, follows the story of Mutesi, a Ugandan chess player.


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