Nikita Pearl Waligwa who starred in the movie Queen of Katwe alongside Lupita Nyongo has succumbed to brain cancer. She was 15.
The 2016 film was based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who took up chess aged nine despite not having any formal education and went on to compete in international tournaments. It starred Lupita Nyong’o as her mother and David Oyelowo as her chess teacher. Waligwa played the role of Gloria, a friend to Phiona who explained the rules of chess to her.
Following her diagnosis in 2016, the Queen of Katwe director,Mira Nair reportedly mobilized people to help fund her treatment in India after specialists in Uganda admitted to not having proper equipment. In 2017 she got the all clear but was found to have another tumor last year. She passed away on Saturday evening February 15, at TMR International Hospital, in Naalya, Kampala.
Teacher from Gayaza High school, where she was a student, wrote her a heart felt tribute describing her as a darling to many. People also took to social media to send condolences to her family.
Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa. You were a darling to many and we have lost you to brain tumor at such a tender age. Nikita was in S.3. Rest in Perfect Peace dear pic.twitter.com/ny8I9YAjsQ
— Gayaza High School (@gayazahigh) February 16, 2020