Queen of Katwe was kind of the African, chess version of McFarland, USA. It’s the story of a man who was coaching soccer in the slums of Uganda while looking for a better job. As he coached soccer, he learned that many kids weren’t allowed to play because it was too dangerous for a family that had no money for doctors. So, he started a chess club. He explained that chess was an opportunity for these poor kids to sit across from rich kids, and beat them at their own game. Chess became a game of opportunity for kids who had none, and it was a metaphor for life.
He got the better job he’d hoped for, but turned it down. How could he leave these children who so needed him? Hear his wife’s beautiful and supportive reply to his apology over turning down the job with a better salary: “Why do you do this? Why do you apologize for doing what is right? …That is your work and that is the work of this family.”
The story is about the influence that coach had on the community. It’s about the impact he had on one girl, Phiona. It’s about what poverty does to a child. It’s also about what hope does for a child and a community. It’s an amazing movie that challenges us to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others, and to overcome our circumstances. It’s full of powerful lessons and moments of inspiration. I’ll only highlight a few here. But go see it! If you liked McFarland, USA, go see this one.