By Mike Ssegawa
The talk of Hollywood and much of the movei world this year is the story of Uganda’s chess star, a 16 year old Phiona Mutesi from the slums of Katwe. The former poor girl now dreams of being a doctor and chess grand master some day, and has become a subject of book and Hollywood movie, Queen of Katwe.
However, the story has gotten the wow factor and global acclaim thanks to the marketing push of Lupita Nyongo.
Since Lupita Nyongo won an Oscar with 12 years a slave movie, she became a world icon. Kenyans expected to tap into her fame to promote a number of things including their film and fashion industries.
However, Lupita has showed that love instead to neighboring Uganda. The gesture has sent tongues wagging in Kenya, some asking if Lupita who hails from Kisumu was more Ugandan than Kenyan!
Lupita, a daughter of a prominent Kenyan politician in Kisumu, Anyang Nyongo, is the biggest name in a new movie whose setting is Uganda. The film, Queen of Katwe, was partly shot in Uganda.
The movie tells a story of poor chess prodigy rising from the slum of Katwe in Kampala to conquer the world.
When she came to shoot the movie in Kampala, Lupita made our city her first stop in Africa before Nairobi since winning her Oscar. The move angered Nairobians.
However, her spending about a year promoting the film about Uganda using all available platforms, is getting to the nerves of some across the border, asking why she does do the same for her mother country.
Lupita who had stints of film acting in Kampala before she found fame in Hollywood, has promoted Uganda voluntarily using her fashion sense, media interviews and social media.
For this, she actually deserves a applause from Ugandans.
The film, in which she has a key role, is already talked about as a potential Academy contender, and the talk of Hollywood and several international film festivals.
The film has a great story line, and good director, however, it is indeed riding on Lupita’s back. Queen of Katwe also has a big Ugandan crew including singer Maurice Kirya, comedian Anne Kansiime among others.