Listen to the real Robert Katende, the reason behind Disney’s Queen of Katwe Movie in his own voice by pressing the play button..
On the 10th of January 2011, Tim Crothers, writing for ESPN wrote the following,
“Phiona Mutesi is the ultimate underdog. To be African is to be an underdog in the world. To be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa. To be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda. And finally, to be female is to be an underdog in Katwe.”
The article he wrote for ESPN which later became a book titled The Queen of Katwe and ultimately a Disney Movie of the same name primarily centres around the young chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi who goes on to win the Ugandan Women’s Junior Championship three times, and has represented Uganda at four chess Olympiads. She is also one of the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 93% satisfaction rating. The Oscar winning Kenya actress Lupita Nyong’o delivers a performance worthy of another Oscar and she is ably supported by the ever so impressive David Oyelowo alongside the young Ugandan actress, Madina Nalwanga. What is clear in the movie is that the force behind the success of Phiona and the other young prodigies including Benjamin, Ivan and Brian is the man they call coach. Mr. Robert Katende.
Robert introduced and developed chess programs in the slums of Kampala. He also worked with Divine Waters Ministry in partnership with Sports Outreach to drill wells in Gulu. His exemplary and innovative leadership in 15 years of service have seen him become Sports Outreach Director for Africa.
This episode is an exclusive one hour interview with the man who is changing the lives of kids in Kampala and other parts of Africa and showing that with a good support structure being African doesn’t have to mean that one is an underdog in the world, with people like Robert by your side being Ugandan doesn’t need to mean one is an underdog in Africa, and that you can be a black African female from Katwe but with enough talent and support from people like Robert you can go on to compete against anyone in the world and find your rightful place in the universe.