Life Stories: Interview with Phiona Mutesi

Phiona Mutesi at the Women in the World Conference. (Wikipedia)

A very interesting interview with Phiona Mutesi has been produced by NTV Uganda. This fascinating 41-minute video is serving as the precursor to the upcoming movie based on the biopic “Queen of Katwe“. The movie will star Academy award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. The host of the interview was Zuena Kilema Ssali.

Phiona has been featured in so many interviews and appearances, but this time her mother is interviewed at length about the family situation. After the Phiona’s father died, the Mutesi family literally surviving from day-to-day selling maize at the market. The mother was ambivalent about chess and wanted her children to help at the market.

Phiona discovered chess tagging along after her brother in an after-school chess program run by Robert Katende. It was from this program that she learned chess and used it as an avenue to seek a better fortune in life. She has been able to travel to several countries and took a 33-day tour of the U.S.

Lupita Nyong'o.

Lupita Nyong’o, Academy Award winner in “12 Years as a Slave” will play Phiona Mutesi’s mother in the film adaptation of the book, “Queen of Katwe”.

Much of The Chess Drum audience will have read about Phiona, but there are perhaps thousands of stories like hers. Yet, only a few are known given chess world’s focus on the elite players. Please take some time to watch this very touching video.

Video by NTV Uganda.

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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