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Still from 'Queen of Katwe.'

Tributes Pour Out In Remembrance of Ugandan 'Queen of Katwe' Actor Nikita Pearl Waligwa

The 15-year-old star passed away on Sunday after a battle with brain cancer.

Nikita Pearl Waligwa, one of the young stars of Disney's Queen of Katwe, died on Sunday after a 4-year battle with brain cancer. She was 15 years-old.

The rising actress played Gloria in the 2016 film, based on the life of Chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, which also starred Madina Nalwanga, Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo.

Waligwa stood out in a scene in which she taught Phiona—who went on to excel in several international chess tournaments—the rules of the game. A pleasant presence on-screen, she delivered the memorable line: "In chess, the small one came become the big one."


The news of her passing was first announced via the Twitter page of the secondary school she attended in Uganda. "Fare thee well Nikita Pearl Waligwa," read the announcement. "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."

According to BBC Africa, the actress was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, after which the film's director Mira Nair, helped raise funds to send her to India for treatment. While she was found to be tumor-free in 2017, another appeared last year.

Supporters, fans and co-stars, including Nyong'o, Oyelowo and Bobi Wine have been sharing heartfelt tributes to the young actress and reflecting on the courage and strength shown in battling her brain tumor.






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Photo: Nick Beeba

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We speak with the Seattle-based DJ and producer about his new album and the music bridges connecting Brazil, the US and the world.

It's a common joke in Brazil: once three or more Brazilian people gather together, they will start a WhatsApp group. The producer and DJ Kai Wright, who goes by the alias Sango, is well aware of that. While he is giving this interview through a Zoom call, a sound notification pops from his computer. "Do you hear that?" he says, amidst laughs. "It's WhatsApp, this album was made through WhatsApp groups."

Once and for all, Sango is not Brazilian. "I am an ambassador for that sound, but I am a Black American," he says. "That sound" is baile funk, the most prominent Brazilian electronic and popular music of the past decades. Born in Michigan and based in Seattle, Sango became a beacon for a new strain of baile funk around 2012, when he released the album Da Rocinha—a suite that he revisits in his new release, Da Rocinha 4.

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In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

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