Queen of Katwe Actor Nikita Pearl Waligwa Is Dead at 15

Illustration for article titled iQueen of Katwe /iActor Nikita Pearl Waligwa Is Dead at 15
Screenshot: Disney

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, a Ugandan actor who appeared in Disney’s 2016 Mira Nair-directed film Queen of Katwe, has died. She was 15.

Advertisement

The New York Times reports that the cause was brain cancer. Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, and after a brief recession, doctors found the cancer had spread. Waligwa’s school, Gayaza High School in Kampala, Uganda, announced her death on Twitter on Sunday.

Advertisement

Queen of Katwe starred Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga, the latter of whom portrayed real-life protagonist Phiona Mutesi, who helps her family break out of poverty in Kampala by playing competitive chess. Waligwa portrayed Gloria, Phiona’s friend who helped teach her how to play the game. The film was based on a 2011 ESPN article about Mutesi, who has since represented Uganda at multiple chess olympiads.

BBC reports that Nair had tried to crowdfund Waligwa’s medical treatment in India, after Ugandan doctors said they lacked the equipment necessary to eradicate her brain tumor.

Nyong’o posted a tribute to Waligwa on Instagram on Sunday:

Night blogger, author of GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE YOU HATE.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

surprise-surprise
Suprise Suprise It's Lando in Disguise

BBC reports that Nair had tried to crowdfund Waligwa’s medical treatment in India, after Ugandan doctors said they lacked the equipment necessary to eradicate her brain tumor.

Fuck Disney. Footing the bill for that would have been pocket change to them.