Madina Nalwanga is an actress who made her debut in movie Queen of Katwe.
Famous for: Actress
Madina Nalwanga grew up in poverty and sold corn to provide for her home and pay for her school fees. She has six siblings and lived in a dormitory in Kibuli near Kampala.
At the age of four Madina followed her neighbour to dance school and from then started watching dancers from the veranda. The dance school agreed to pay for her school fees as long as she participated and she eventually lived in the school away from her mother.
Madina Nalwanga was discovered at the dance studio where she was a performing. She was chosen to play Phiona Mutesi in the move The Queen of Katwe (2016). She stars alongside Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo. Commenting on the role she stated, “Phiona’s life is my life. Everything she went through to be successful is everything that I went through to make sure that I’m successful.”
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Lupita Nyong’o: What was going through your head as you were watching the movie for the first time at the Toronto Film Festival? Were there particular scenes you liked?
Madina Nalwanga: Very many things were going through my head. There is this scene that we did and I called you, “Mum, oh mama,” and you just replied and said, “Yes?” It just made me remember those days with my mum before leaving her, like it was really nice for me to hear you answering me back as a mum. It touched me so much.
LN: You still call me mum.
LN: Do I respond?
MN: You do.
LN: You had so many intense emotional moments in the film. How did you get into character as a first-time actress?
MN: At one point, I lost my [chess] game, then it was hard for me to get into character because I had to cry so much. David [Oyelowo] held me, and then he told me, “Just remember every sad moment that you’ve ever had in your life. Just think of that. Everything will come on its own.” I said, “OK.” I had to call my mum, so calling Mum and thinking of every sad moment I’ve ever had in my life, it made me come into that character. It was really hard for me to do that, but eventually I did it.