Just 15, and certainly no age to die. Ugandan child prodigy Nikita Pearl Waliga who played a pivotal part in Mira Nair’s film Queen Of Katwe died of an incurable brain tumour on February 15.
This was the second time Nikita was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Earlier in 2016, she was diagnosed with her first tumour while shooting for Mira Nair’s Queen Of Katwe. Since the medical facilities in Uganda were unable to cope with Nikita’s condition, Mira flew the girl down to India for treatment and took care of all the medical bills. Once again when the dreaded disease struck the child, death had its way.
Mira was still in shock when I contacted her.
Mira said, “I am heartbroken. She was too young. This was too soon. Nikita was a shining light and a fighter. We brought her to India twice for her brain tumour operations, she got better, but the disease was incurable. May her spirit prevail. The Pioneers and Kool Kats of Katwe will miss her, as will we all.”