Newly Released Film “Queen of Katwe” Portrays Members of Northland Partner Church

Olivia B.

This article was released in September of 2016. 

A recently released biographical drama film, “Queen of Katwe,” is deemed by critics as “irresistible” and “uplifting.” But for Northland, it is more than an inspirational movie, as it portrays people who attend Northland’s partner church in Kampala, Uganda, Miracle Centre Kawempe. Pastor Robert Nabulere, the senior pastor, recently visited Northland and shed some light on the new movie and the real people behind it.

The film portrays the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl who grew up in Kampala’s slum called ‘Katwe,’ and Robert Katende, a young pastor from Miracle Centre, who teaches Phiona how to play chess. Phiona excels at the game, and the film portrays the surprising journey she takes into international recognition. Through the teaching process, Phiona accepted Christ and Katende discipled her in her faith.

“Chess teaches people to think, to plan, to count your costs,” says Pastor Robert Nabulere. “It’s a game of life … you have to make one move at a time.”

Robert Katende, the story’s passionate young pastor who disciples children in impoverished life situations, knows a life of poverty all too well. He himself lost both his parents at a young age, and his personal life story motivates him to mentor children like Phiona.

“He has that passion to help other children break their limits, no matter what their background is,” Pastor Robert says of Katende.

Besides serving with a sports ministry called “Sports Outreach,” Katende serves as a leader at Miracle Centre Kawempe. Pastor Robert Nabulere recalls days when Katende would be slotted to preach and would get on stage to lead service in a tracksuit.

“I would wonder, ‘Why is this guy in a tracksuit?’” Pastor Robert recalls jovially. “He eventually told me, ‘Pastor, those were the days I didn’t even have money to pay for the bus. So I ran across town.’”

The story of transformation portrayed in Queen of Katwe is close to the hearts of Pastor Robert and other believers in Uganda. It powerfully portrays how building bridges to those who need love and discipleship can lead to life transformation.

The film (rated PG for thematic elements, an accident scene and some suggestive material) is available on DVD. In addition to the film, author Tim Crothers wrote a biographical book called “The Queen of Katwe.”

Pastor Robert Nabulere prays over and commissions Robert Katende and Phiona

Want to meet Robert and Phiona? On Sunday, June 25, they will be at Northland for a screening of Queen of Katwe and a night of chess, food and community! Don't miss this event!