Published: Sun, February 16, 2020

Disney's Queen of Katwe Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dies Aged 15

Disney's Queen of Katwe Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dies Aged 15

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, 15, who acted as "Gloria", in Disney's movie, Queen of Katwe, is dead.

Her death was announced by Ugandan media, who confirmed that Waligwa died Saturday night in Uganda as a result of a brain tumor. Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

In 2019, the promising star who depicted the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe, suffered a setback after the tumor recurred.

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.


She underwent surgery in April that year and according to doctors at Platinum Hospital, the tumour had affected her movements and was in deep pain.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa played the role of Gloria, a friend of Phiona who explained the rules of chess to her.

Queen of Katwe starred Lupita Nyong'o as her mother and David Oyelowo as her chess teacher. Gayaza High School, where Waligwa was a student, called her "a darling to many".

The 2016 film, which she featured, was based on true story of Phiona Mutesi, who took up chess despite being out of school and went on to compete in worldwide tournaments.

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