Queen of Katwe
Aspire Learning Space
Nov 2, 2020

“Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong. Where is that for you?”

Normally we scoff at someone who tries to encourage us through our bad times or we mock their attempts at cheering us up by calling them senseless. Luckily, this is a true story, and it’s a story you can’t escape loving.

Set in the slums of Katwe in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, this true story follows the journey of Phiona Mutesi.

There are some obvious connotations with this film. It’s heartbreaking, it’s moving, and it has a happy ending. And maybe that’s just what we need.

In times such as these, it’s probably needed to remember certain facets of human nature that can help us get through the worst circumstances and troubles.

Loss, poverty, abuse, you name it. Every horrible and ugly face this world can show, is exactly what Phiona and everyone in Katwe grows up with.

And once again to show us what the true mettle of a person can do, Phiona, thanks the fighting spirit instilled in her by her mother, and the guidance of her coach, goes on to much greener pastures.

And we really need to see people like her more often. We need to remember that we can in fact, overcome hardships. The pandemic has had devastating effects on nearly the whole globe. Even if you haven’t been affected by the virus itself or someone close to you even, the depression rate has tripled in some parts of the world from lockdown procedures.

It’s not a good time for the world right now.

Nor was it ever for Phiona.

Blessed with a gift, she was discovered by a spirited and wise young engineer who becomes the chess coach for a lovely group of young children.

There could not be a single hurdle this girl didn’t have in her way.
But she made it. Obviously, it wasn’t easy.

It took a loving mother, whose will to fight and never give up, protected her children and taught her brilliant daughter to never surrender in front of the surmounting odds.

It took a young man with a vision, who took a risk on his own life’s well being, and carefully managed the aspirations, dreams, and disappointments of the little girl.

In the end, the girl persevered with seemingly very little to work with, but evidently, all she ever needed.

This world does not owe anyone anything. A fact that only gets clearer and clearer the more we see of this world.

But it’s not unbeatable.

Belief, true belief in yourself and your own assets, can in fact take you far. It’s a hellish road, and you can’t even expect everything that will be thrown your way. But every now and then, comes along someone who shows us it can be done.

It’s cheesy, yes. It’s cliche, yes again. It’s real, definitely.

You can have a dream, and like in chess, if you set a plan, follow it with all your heart, and only then can you have a chance at actually reaching those dreams.

Each in our own walks of life can experience a different set of challenges, but it’s important to draw inspiration from someone like Phiona. It can give us a little push in the direction we’re so desperate to pursue.

Phiona- “Coach, you told us to make a plan but I fear things will never change.”

Robert- “What matters is when you reset the pieces and play a game.”

Never give up. You are not the sum of your losses, you are not the sum of your wins. You are who you believe you are, and that’s a whole lot more than anyone or anything could ever give you.

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