“The Queen of Katwe” One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion, book review
Phiona lives in the slums of Katwe Uganda. This is the only life she knows, survival. The conditions are beyond anything we in the West can image, but this is just real life for her and many other children. Katende is a war refuge who has become a missionary and desperately wants to bring the Gospel and hope to these children of the slum.
He begins with 2 new red soccer balls and the children just flock to him. Each day he brings the balls and teaches them soccer. One day he notices a couple of children who just watch. He invites them to play, but they cannot because they fear injury ( due to malnutrition). Katende then decides to offer chess classes following soccer.
There is no work in Uganda language for chess, so he just uses English words. With 2 simple sets, he begins to teach this complicated game to a few children. The group is probably mostly motivated by the dish of portage provided with the chess lesson, but several of the children prove to be quite talented, including one young girl, Phiona. As the weeks and months go by, the children become quite good at Chess. And Katende is pleased with their progress.
This book chronicles the journey of Katende, Phiona and other Ugandans in their slow climb out of the slums despite a very unsettled political and economic times. The story is well written and includes many shorter stories of famous Ugandans and others who contribute to the mission of bringing hope to the children of the slums. It is inspiring, yet very honest, in the approach of many modern philanthropies who seek to change the lives of those in need.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from BuzzPlant. All opinions expressed are my own.