Ugandan Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dies At 15 [CONDOLENCES]

Nikita Pearl Waliga on ‘Queen of Katwe’

Ugandan Actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa Dies At 15 [CONDOLENCES]

Sad news Monday morning (Feb. 17).

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, an actress from Uganda who starred in Disney’s Queen of Katwe has died.

Her tragic and untimely passing comes after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, according to BBC. 

Her breakout role in the 2016 film Queen of Katwe told the real-life story of Phiona Mutesi, who started playing chess at nine-years-old. Even though she wasn’t in school, her chess skills took her to international tournaments as she quickly mastered the sport.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa played Phiona Mutesi’s friend Gloria who taught her the ins and outs of all things chess.

The film also starred Lupito Nyong’o, who played Phiona Mutesi’s mother, and David Oyelowo, who took on the role of her chess teacher.

After Nikita Pearl Waligwa’s diagnosis, the Queen of Katwe director took steps to help cover her medical costs in India after physicians in Uganda said they didn’t have the tools needed to help treat her.

While she was said to be fully recovered in 2017, another tumor was unfortunately discovered in 2019.

Lupita Nyong’o expressed her condolences on Instagram.

“It is with great sadness that I post about the passing of Nikita Waligwa, the sweet, warm, talented girl whom I worked with on the film, Queen Of Katwe. She played Gloria with such vibrancy. In her real life she had the enormous challenge of battling brain cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and community as they come to terms with having to say goodbye so soon. May she truly rest in piece. May it be well with her soul.”

David Oyelowo also wrote,
“We mourn the loss of our beautiful Nikita Pearl Waligwa. She was a ball of light in @queenofkatwemovie and in life. Her battle with a brain tumor was humbling to witness. Her light will live on. ?#rip
Prayers for Nikita Pearl Waligwa’s family, friends, and fans!
Authored by: Char Patterson