Ugandan actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who starred in the 2016 Star Disney movie 'Queen Of Katwe' has breathed her last. She was 15. Her school put out a tweet stating that Waligwa was suffering from brain tumour. Waligwa had played Gloria, a friend of Phiona, the chess prodigy, in the movie.
"Indeed it's heart breaking. She will dearly be missed by everyone. She was a darling to many. R.I.P Nikita." Tweeted the school. "We are gutted as Gayaza community. No words can explain the pain at the moment," stated another tweet from the school.
She had attended Gayaza High School since 2018. Reports claim that she was diagnosed with brain tumor in 2016. She underwent treatment and was declared as recovered. But a year later there was a relapse and another tumour was found in her brain that turned fatal.
A TV presenter tweeted: "15 year old Nikita Pearl Waligwa,who starred as 'Gloria', in a Disney's movie, Queen of Katwe, is dead. Nikita succumbed to brain cancer on Saturday. Rest in peace little one." A tweet from News Vision daily newspaper states: "Nikita Pearl Waligwa was not only a star, but she was also an inspiration to every young girl."
Queen Of Katwe won international accolade
Queen Of Katwe was helmed by Indian director Mira Nair and filming took place at Katwe, a slum in Uganda's capital Kampala. The film was acclaimed internationally. The movie was based on the life of Phiona Mutesi, an uneducated girl from the Katwe slum. She became the first female winner of Uganda's junior chess championships and soon started representing Uganda at international competitions, when she was just 17.
The role of Gloria played by Waligwa was vital as she explains the rules of Chess to Phiona. Where Gloria teaches her "The small one can become the big one." As stated by BBC, Queen of Katwe director Mira Nair had mobilised people seeking help to fund Waligwa's treatment in India as the Ugandan doctors had expressed their helplessness as they did not have the necessary equipment.