Africa Connected

Checkmate! Chess still making waves in Uganda

Travelling through Uganda, there’s no way Nikiwe Bikitsha could miss the opportunity to meet up with Katwe’s very own chess master, Robert Katende.

Robert Katende is the Academy Coach at Som Chess School who shot to fame following the release of Disney’s critically acclaimed Queen of Katwe starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o.

Based on a true story, the movie tells the tale of 10-year-old Phiona who became fascinated with chess after stumbling upon the slum centre where Katende taught chess. A ticket out of poverty, under the Katende’s guidance, Phiona became the top chess player in the country - leading her to local and international chess tournaments.

Still going strong, Katende’s centre is a safe haven, offering meals and using chess as a tool to nurture, empower and facilitating the entry of some of Katwe’s children back into the schooling system.

Today, the ‘Pioneers’ profiled in the movie are making even bigger moves. Now, certified chess instructors, they travel between Uganda and Kenya teaching chess at schools and creating job opportunities for more instructors.

Click here to access the Africa Connected portal or click below to watch Nikiwe's visit to the chess masters...


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