Nikita Pearl Waligwa, who appeared as Gloria in Queen of Katwe, ‘ died sadly after being diagnosed with a brain tumour at a hospital in Naalya, Kampala at the age of 15. Here’s a look at biography and short life
Biography of Nikita Pearl Waligwa – A young Ugandan actress who gained international fame after her impressive role in Disney film Queen of Katwe in 2016, Nikita Pearl Waligwa is also known as Gloria of Queen of Katwe, died on 15 Feb. after the diagnoses of her second brain tumour in 3 years.
The young talent died in a hospital in Naalya, Kampala, Uganda.
Shortly after her death, social media tributes began to spread, including a tweet from Gayaza High School, where she was a student at the time of her passing.
She first appeared onscreen as Gloria in Queen of Katwe.
The film was directed by Mira Nair and tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl who started playing chess at the age of nine, despite not going to school and being from a slum in Uganda.
Since playing in many international competitions, she went on to become a chess prodigy. Nikita played the role of Gloria, a friend of Phiona who describes to her the rules of chess.
The film also featured the academy award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o as the mother of Phiona and David Oyelowo as the chess coach.
She was diagnosed with her first brain tumour in 2016.
Mira reportedly launched a campaign shortly after the devastating diagnosis and requested people to donate to help pay for Nikita’s care in India because Ugandan doctors did not have the necessary equipment to treat her.
Nikita was given the all-clear by doctors in 2017 after initially completing radiotherapy but another tumour was identified in early 2019.
Shortly after Nikita Pearl Waligwa initial diagnoses, her mother, Rachel Asiimwe Waligwa, was also reportedly diagnosed with cancer and given only two months to live.
However, she beat the odds, and considered her ultimate survival a “miracle.”
Her brain was reportedly swollen at the time the second tumour was diagnosed. “The brain was swollen and it exerts a lot of pressure,” said one of Nikita’s family members about her second diagnosis, according to The Sun.
Social media tributes after her death have shown that despite her short life, she has had a positive impact.
We’ve lost a lot of talent. It’s not easy to be 15 and make an impact. I’m always going to miss you!
We send comfort and healing wishes to all those affected by the tragic passing of Nikita.